Aleppo is one of the oldest cities on the world and has long been considered one of the greatest historical-cultural centuries in the Middle East, famed for its monumental architecture and its souk. After four centuries of Ottoman rule, and a transitional period under Arab leadership, Aleppo and the rest of Syria came under French control in 1923. While the period of French administration liberated print culture, it proved to be politically and economically tumultuous, setting Syria upon a tortured course. Tragically, Aleppo was largely destroyed during the ongoing Syrian Civil War (2011-), which had resulted in the loss of some of world’s greatest urban treasures.
The present wide-angle panorama of Aleppo takes in the entire city at it appeared in the 1920s. Composed of eight joined panels of coloured photolithographs, it was issued by the local firm of Wattar Frères. It is centered on the elevated Citadel of Aleppo, while the city’s numerous mosques and palaces punctuate the skyline. The panorama is an intriguing historical record of Aleppo, as much of what is seen here no longer survives due to the ongoing conflict.
Wattar Frères was a photography firm that operated in Aleppo between 1921 and 1932, and it issued the present work in both uncoloured and coloured (marquis) forms.
The panorama is rare, we can trace only a single institutional example, held by the British Library, while examples seldom appear on the market.
References: Cf. (Uncoloured:) British Library: EPH-ME.2185; Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Band 11 (1987), p. 77.