Tragically a trip that won’t be possible to repeat for some time. I visited Syria back in 2008, catching a 42 hour train from Istanbul to Aleppo, and spent a week and a half travelling around independently. It felt completely safe, the people were friendly and didn’t hassle (unlike Egypt) and I visited some of the most spectacular man made things I’ve ever seen.
Far more interesting than Damascus, with some beautiful architecture, and a pleasant place to get slightly lost exploring on foot.
The centre piece was the imposing Citadel with its sense of permanence, sorely tested since.
The nearby souk was more traditional and far less showy than those in Istanbul and Damascus, being a practical covered market for everyday needs.
The Great Mosque was worth visiting, as was the Aleppo National Museum, though I suspect that everywhere I visited has since been badly damaged or destroyed, tragic for the people of Syria and cultural history.
From the famous Baron Hotel, where the likes of Charles de Gaulle and Agatha Christie once stayed, I travelling in style circa US 1950s, out to the Church of St. Simeon, and some of the Dead Cities. The church was the largest in the world for hundreds of years until Istanbul’s epic Hagia Sophia was built. St. Simeon was a Stylite, who spent 47 years on top of a pillar, now topped with a boulder.