Souk Khan al-Harir Rehabilitation
Aleppo, Syria
Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

Starting in late 2016, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) participated with UNESCO and other international NGOs and conservation specialists in a number of conferences and workshops on the subject of rehabilitation. Later that year, the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Monuments and the Syria Trust for Development, reached out to AKTC as the entity considered best placed and most experienced to assist in the rehabilitation of some of the most damaged cultural heritage sites in the country as part of a humanitary assistance programme.

The Aleppo Souk is the largest medieval souk in the Middle East and was badly damaged during the conflict. A pilot project on a section (Souk al- Saqatiyya) with a length of 150 metres including 52 shops was undertaken starting at the end of 2018 throughout 2019. The prime objective is to improve the infrastructure and utilities in the Souk, so as to encourage shop owners and clients to resume commercial activities in the social and economic arteries of the city. Phase 1 was completed in July 2019. It is the first conservation and reuse project in post-conflict Aleppo of such scale. 

The selection of the souks in the 5-year plan is surgical. Together, they create a critical mass within the heart of the Central Souk and provide an impetus for public and private initiatives in other areas of the Souk, thereby reviving the entire area and stimulating the economy. This project is much more than restoring bricks and morter, its objective is to improve lives by creating an economic engine in the Old City. The project, when complete at the end of 2025, will see the rehabilitation of 277 shops, and a coffee-house, over 515m of passageways and cover an area of 5,480 m2.

In 2020, during the COVID-19 crisis, AKTC commenced phase 2 of the rehabilitation project. The local team was managed remotely and the use of 6 web cameras onsite ensured direction and quality. This phase comprises the rehabilitation of connecting arteries to link the completed phase 1 work of Souk al-Saqatiyya to exterior entry points. The first of these arteries is Souk Khan al-Harir containing 60 shops and serving 3 large khans.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Aleppo, Syria
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reconstruction and rehabilitation in 2020
Documentation in 2019
126 meters in length containing 60 shops
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Rehabilitation of Souk Khan al-Harir
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