Photographer's Note

There is very little to say about this photo, but I will give you a long note just for fun. ;-)

This is just a snapshot from one of the narrow alleys in the old part of Aleppo, Syria in 1995. I don't know if the boys were washing the sheep to make it look nice before it was to be sacrificed in a religious ritual, or if they just had had enough of its smell.

This is a scan of a Kodachrome slide. Here is a larger version. There is no workshop today.

I probably took this photo very close to where I saw these boys. Reading my diary to see if there was any reference to any of these photos (there wasn't) I was reminded of what a multicultural city Aleppo was before the war. Walking through the old parts I crossed from Muslim areas into Christian areas dominated in turn by various congregations. I noted that the Armenian district looked so much more European than the rest of the city.

I fear that all such differences that make a city alive and exciting have been wiped out by now in the "cleansing" process of the war.

The following paragraphs, describing some other memories of Aleppo, are just for the dedicated enthusiasts of background stories:

Reading my diary I was also reminded that my greatest experience in Aleppo was neither the large Ummayad mosque (severely damaged during the early part of the war) nor the medieval Citadel, but the relatively small National Museum of Aleppo, mainly focusing on archaeological treasures found in northern Syria. Unfortunately I have no photos from it, but I used three pages of my diary to describe some of the many wonderful pieces I saw, most of them more than 3.000 years old.

Quoting Wikipedia: "In July 2016 the museum was hit by numerous missiles and mortar shells fired by rebel forces. This caused extensive damage to the roof and structure of the building. Most of the collection had already been evacuated but concerns have been expressed regarding items which could not be moved."

For many years I have wondered what happened to the hundreds of clay tablets describing in cuneiform life 4.000-5.000 years ago. Like the Princess telling her father, the King of another country, that she had given birth to twins: a boy and a girl. Another Princess, married off to a foreign Prince, wrote a letter (on a clay tablet) to her little sister telling her funny stories of the strange habits of the new court where she was living. And I had noted the instructions from the authorities how to make sure a disease carried by a certain woman, whose name was mentioned, should not be allowed to spread: "Do not eat from the same bowl, do not sit on her chair or sleep in her bed".

I remember a vase, thousands of years old and in a perfect shape, looking like it would have been modern in the 1950's. I remember lifesize statues of a priestess and a priest.

And so many other irreplaceable items that gave me goosebumps from excitement.

May they all have been preserved somewhere in a secret vault, just like the treasures of Kabul Museum were saved from the Taliban.

Syria was one of the cradles of human civilization and Aleppo was, until recently, one of the greatest cities in the Middle East. I only regret I was there in the pre-digital area and returned with so few photos.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12550 W: 572 N: 24059] (102732)
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