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#Aleppo Citadel, one of the oldest & largest castles dating back to Ayyubid period and closed since mid-2012, reopened its doors today. Even though area directly surrounding Citadel fell to Armed Groups, the imposing structure was under the control of the Govt throughout the war
2-Growing up in Aleppo, the Citadel always seemed like nothing had changed in it since the Ayyubids dynasty ended. Perhaps no single archaeological monument defines a city like this Citadel did. It was imposing, historical & authentic. Things started to change just before the war
3-Starting in 2008, Group of Syrians working with the Municipality decided to mount modern lighting on the Structure. The new look at night was truly striking. Similar projects were taking place throughout the city and particularly around the Citadel
4-Area around Castle was conservative. When sitting on roof of a restaurant overlooking castle during summer night, it seemed perfect moment for cold beer while enjoying the majestic view. Waiter: “Apologies but we don’t serve alcohol so that we don’t upset local residents” =>
5- “Convention” of avoiding service of alcohol in the area changed when a well known Damascene Businessman secured a lease and contract with Carlton to establish the first 5 star hotel in the area. The massive & meticulous renovation to the was completed barely a year before war
6-The completion of the Carlton Hotel was a microcosm of the economic changes sweeping Syrian urban centers at the time. As in most reforms & openings after years of closed economies, wealth & income disparities widen. Carlton Hotel 👇before the rebels blew it up
7-In May 2014, the Armed Groups occupying vast residential areas adjacent to the Citadel dug tunnels under the Carlton hotel right opposite the Castle and filmed the moment they blew up the structure in the hope of killing the Syrian soldiers inside
8-This is what remained of the building after the explosion. Blowing up the Carlton Hotel was another microcosm of the war. Group of Syrians from countryside teaming up with some local residents who opened their arms to them seemed intent on destroying anything in their way
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