[Arab. Ḥalab; Fr. Alep]
Chief city of northern Syria. After the Turkish conquest of Anatolia in the late 11th century, Aleppo became increasingly important as a regional capital, and, under the Zangid (reg 1127–1222) and Ayyubid (reg 1183–1260) dynasties, the city played a fundamental role as a centre for the reconquest of Crusader territories in the Levant. Under the Mamluk (reg 1250–1517) and Ottoman (reg 1281–1924) dynasties, Aleppo was the second city of the Arab world after Cairo, a focus of Middle Eastern trade and a meeting point between East and West.
The prehistoric village on the site seems to have gained ascendancy over others in this fertile agricultural area due to the presence of the rocky eminence on which the citadel stands. At the end of the 19th century bc, Aleppo was conquered by the Hittites, and a few low reliefs and inscriptions survive from the period of Hittite domination. The urban character of the city was revived when ...