Written by Liam Hetherington on 08 Mar, 2010
The medina, or old city, of Aleppo is old. A fierce regional dispute simmers with Damascus about precisely which of Syria’s two main cities is actually "the oldest continually inhabited city on earth", and which is merely runner up (Damascus probably just about has the…Read More
The medina, or old city, of Aleppo is old. A fierce regional dispute simmers with Damascus about precisely which of Syria’s two main cities is actually "the oldest continually inhabited city on earth", and which is merely runner up (Damascus probably just about has the edge of Aleppo here, but do not tell the Halabis that!). It sprawls to the west of the acropolis where the Citadel now perches and was once ringed with 5km walls, only some of which still remain, pierced with eight great gates. Inside the covered markets, or souqs, form the heart of the complex. These are ringed by the khans, the walled caravanserais where the merchants’ wagons ended up, lockable at night. The other necessities of a civilised urban life sprang up around these – the bath houses and mosques. Finally the reamining space was infilled with housing – grand and ornate for the merchants, more humble for the local craftsmen. Today the houses are still occupied, the hammams are still frequented, the khans are still stuffed with stock, and hawkers still cry out from their cubbyholes along the main thoroughfares. Surrounded by 14th century masonry, the brick vaulting arching above your head and blocking out the sky, your nostrils filled with the scents of olive oil and laurel soap, syrup, fresh meat, cardamom and spices, rose attar perfume and sweat, the souqs of Aleppo make an unforgettable impression. Covering some 12 hectares, they comprise the largest covered market in the world. Save for the medina of Fes in Morocco (and possibly the old city of Damascus itself), the Aleppine souqs are the greatest example of their kind that I have ever seen. I started my visit at the 13th century western gate – the Bab Antakya. This is one of only two of the original eight gates remaining, and led west towards Antioch. It is a forbidding – but surprisingly narrow – access route into the old city, piercing high blank walls. It dog legs around to the left in a defensive manner. The stalls of handymen are accreted on to the inside of the tunnel, narrowing the passageway still further. You will doubtless see someone trying to make progress in a mini-van piled high with stock, executing a seventeen-point turn as he tries to get his vehicle around the tight corner, yelling at the pedestrian crowds in his way. This seems to be a recurrent scene here; the ways were intended for camels and mules, not Subarus. It is well worth hanging around until the driver finally gets half-way around the corner… only to realise that he is faced with another van negotiating its way out! Keep an eye out for a giant cannonball hanging threateningly from a chain overhead!From here a main street stretches east some 1.5km to end by the Citadel. This is the main thoroughfare of the souq – stick to it, and you cannot get lost. The most that will happen is that you end up at the Citadel when you were aiming for Bab Antakya and vice versa. This was the decumanus maximus of the old Roman city of Beroia – Bab Antakya itself sits where once a triumphal arch is thought to have once straddled the road. Certainly Roman masonry was reused in the construction of the al-Kamiliyya mosque just up the road. The street does change its name several times along its length however: west to east it is known as Souq Bab Antakya, Souq al-Attarine, and Souq al-Zarb. Here it does not look like particularly promising territory – the roof is made of sheets of rusted corrugated iron, and the goods for sale are bright modern polyester t-shirts and school uniforms. As a side trip, once through the gate take a left up the stepped lane past a hammam. This brings you out on top of the wall ramparts, looking north across the new city. Up here you can also find a tiny mosque, the al-Qaiqan, or ‘crows’’ mosque with sooty-black basalt Byzantine columns flanking the door of what was once a Christian chapel. Back on the main pathway the iron sheeting overhead is replaced with ogee-arched stone vaulting, and then a rounded brick-and-mortar ceiling. This is the heart of the souq. There are a mishmash of businesses flanking the paved roadway, mostly geared towards a local crowd – how many tourists would want a strip of meat cleavered away from the hanging fly-blown carcass of a camel? Still, certain industries do tend to cluster together. One can find a glut of copperware in one section, storefronts piled high with carpets in another, one alley glowing gold with stall after stall of jewelry, and an interconnecting passageway drowning in a white froth of overly-elaborate ‘80s-style wedding dresses. The historic names of the streets give an indication of what businesses will be found where – Souq al-Attarine still prickles the nose with the scents of perfumes, Souq al-Tabush still sells kefiyyas and other headgear, while Aleppo’s famous soaps made from a traditional recipe of olive oil and laurel can be found on Souq al-Sabun. These goods, which have more of an intrinsic value for tourists (trust me – I bought a kefiyya and a package of soaps - are clustered more at the eastern end of the route, towards the Citadel. And stall holders generally seem to speak English, or have a friend nearby who can translate. Many of them even seem to have learnt their English in various depressed provincial towns in the UK. Once you are in conversation they will tighten the screws and be very full-on in their haggling, though I actually found it difficult to make eye-contact with any likely-looking salesmen to begin with (possibly because it was late afternoon on the first day of Ramadan and they were all dreaming of dinner and a cigarette). Haggling is expected however, so don’t be afraid to counter with what you personally think is a fair price, or even to walk away if you cannot reach agreement. This is a great place to pick up your souvenirs. As a relic of its famous past here you will find just as wide a selection of souvenirs as in Damascus, and probably at a more competitive price. I saved most of my bartering for Aleppo for this reason – as well as the fact that it was my last stop in Syria so I could use up my excess Syrian currency and not have to carry my purchases for quite as long…Getting lost is easy once you venture off the main street however. All the passages and cross-passages are seemingly identical. But it is worth popping your head into one or two of the khans. These were the warehouses of the trade caravans, great open-roofed courtyards with secure strong rooms on two arcaded levels that could be locked and barred at night. Again, seeing a truck trying to make a 90 degree turn off the main passageway and through one of these great doorways, shouting at the pedestrians is one of my over-riding memories of Aleppo. All the stone doorframes are chipped and scraped, and all the vans are scratched and dented in testament to many years of such awkward manoeuvering. They still hold stores, workshops and lock-ups of merchandise, so be circumspect if you want to wander around. The Khan al-Jumruk on the south side of Souq al-Attarine is the largest. It used to house the English, Dutch and French consulates and trade missions as well as some 344 shops. Now you will find the area around the central building piled high with rolled up carpets, bright coloured drapes separating the stock of individual merchants. On the opposite side of al-Attarine is the way to the Great Mosque. Although only ten years younger than the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus, it is not nearly so noteworthy. This is because it has been rebuilt several times (although the square minaret does date from 1090). A shrine there claims to hold the head of Zacharia, the father of John the Baptist.Aleppo may no longer be the world-famous crossroad of caravans that it made its name as, but the largest souq in the world still hums with life. That so much of the trade there is conducted between locals gives the old city a human scale that would actually probably have been missing in the 17th century when Venetian factors bickered over entire cartloads of spices and Dutch merchantmen bought bolts of silk by the gross. Here today you can see how the inhabitants of this city of 1.7m still walk the same streets as their ancestors, stop at the same stalls, and purchase much the same goods. And pick up some decent souvenirs at the same time obvioiusly…Close
While the month of fasting called Ramadan is treated somewhat casually in some parts of the Muslim world, in Aleppo it is very much observed. This northern city is known as being more conservative in religious matters than Damascus, and you will certainly see more…Read More
While the month of fasting called Ramadan is treated somewhat casually in some parts of the Muslim world, in Aleppo it is very much observed. This northern city is known as being more conservative in religious matters than Damascus, and you will certainly see more chadors on the streets of Aleppo. So it is interesting to see how Ramadan is marked here.During Ramadan the faithful are expected to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours. Families rise early to fill up on breakfast before dawn (around 4.30AM during my visit); likewise they meet together as families or groups of friends to dine communally once the sun finally dips from the sky 9around 8PM. This means they are spending 15 hours without food, water, or a cigarette during the hottest part of the day (the first day of Ramadan in 2009 was also the hottest day Aleppo had seen so far that year). Tourists are not obviously expected to do likewise, though a certain element of discretion might be advised. Locals I came into contact with were tolerant of the sweating westerner sipping from a plastic bottle. Ahmed, our guide to Aleppo, refused offers of water saying that he was observing Ramadan. It did not stop him buying a box of sweet pastries for our group to try amongst ourselves or giving out toffees however. What this means to the tourist then is as follows. Firstly, locals are likely to be hungry, thirsty, and gasping for a cig, particularly by the late afternoon. One can possibly expect this to manifest in a distracted air and a shorter temper. Come 4PM everyone’s attention is on the clock. During the hour before dusk it is unwise to go out. The roads are clogged with people endeavouring to get back to their homes, speeding, skipping straight across intersections, ignoring traffic restrictions. If they get caught in a hold up those drivers are likely to be seemingly on the verge of road rage. It might also be wise to book ahead in a restaurant, as they see their busiest nights of the year. Groups of (male) friends or full families fill dining establishments up as they break their fast communally. However, this does create a bit of a party atmosphere amongst the diners. Ramadan seems to be observed very rigorously by Muslims in Aleppo in particular. Restaurants are closed during the day, and food does not even seem to get sold until the afternoon, to keep it fresh for cooks. However, even if the fast is observed more stringently here than it is amongst Muslims elsewhere, Aleppo is actually a good place for Westerners to find themselves during Ramadan. Due to its position as a cross roads for trade, the ethnic make-up or Aleppo is quite varied. More than 15% of the city’s population is Christian, a larger proportion than that of any other city in the middle east except for Beirut. The main Christian area is called al-Jdeida, and is located north of the Old City (‘jdeida’ means ‘new’, as this area was settled relatively recently in Aleppo’s history, and certainly after 1400). This is a delightful little conglomeration of winding streets and neat squares with a village-y atmosphere. It hosts churches and cathedrals of no less than five different Christian denominations – Armenian, Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Syrian Catholic. Here, among the vine-shaded alleyways and shuttered windows you can still find restaurants, cafes and grocers – even a very well-stocked fishmongers! Chris and I visited and had a very enjoyable lunch of Greek salad, cheese borek pastries, and cheese-topped garlic bread. Just what we needed to last us until dusk!Close
Written by HobWahid on 20 Sep, 2004
The most spectacular sights around Aleppo are the "dead cities" and St. Simeon, both covered in other entries, but, if you have a couple of days in Aleppo and are not short on time, I recommend extending your excursion to St. Simeon to include a…Read More
The most spectacular sights around Aleppo are the "dead cities" and St. Simeon, both covered in other entries, but, if you have a couple of days in Aleppo and are not short on time, I recommend extending your excursion to St. Simeon to include a few of the other sights buried in the limestone mountains. You can easily see them all (including St. Simeon and the dead cities) on one day-long excursion. Public transportation in this area is minimal and most of the sites are beyond the reach of minibuses, so if you have rented a car (not a bad idea for touring Syria) then you will have no trouble. If you do not have a car, it is perfectly easy to arrange a tour through your hotel. It should cost around $20/person.
The first of the major sights, and the one closest to Aleppo, is the Byzantine church of Mushabbak. The church, while nowhere near the scale of St. Simeon, is still impressively preserved and provides a good introduction to what you can expect from the other sites. The church is a basic basilica built in the fifth century. Inside, the nave and the support columns give you the best idea of what the church looked like in its prime. Also, just outside the church is a small quarry (where the stones for the church came from) and a small tomb. There is also a small monastery complex.
If you are on a planned excursion, you will head from here to a dead city and St. Simeon, after which you can proceed on to the temple complex of Ain Dara. Ain Dara is a Hittite temple from around 10,000 B.C. While the ruins themselves are not terribly impressive, they are still worth a look. The lion statues outside of the tomb give you a good idea of Hittite sculpting, and the large "footprints" inside the temple are unique. If you have never seen a Hittite temple before, Ain Dara will impress, and, in addition to great views, the most impressive aspect of the temple is merely its age.
After Ain Dara, you will head a good 30km farther north, probably stopping for lunch on the way. Beware that you will be expected to pay for your driver’s lunch if you stop. Also, you should know that the driver might just decide to bring his son along, like he did with us, and you will have to pay for him too. Admittedly I was a bit annoyed, but the 10-year-old boy was too cute, and it’s not like it was expensive anyway. The stretch of road from Ain Dara to the ruins of Cyrrhus is the most impressive part of the drive. You will wind around the mountains on narrow roads and through villages. Eventually at one point you will arrive at two Roman bridges, both immaculately preserved and still in use. Your driver will allow you to take some pictures before you head over the steep arches yourself. A few kilometers later, you will reach the ruins of Cyrrhus, an old Roman town. Not much remains except for a Roman tower and a crumbled theater, but the real reason is to head out there is for the drive and the views at the site, which is right on the Turkish border.
These sites may not compare to the grandeur of St. Simeon, but it is still a worthy day trip from Aleppo and one worth taking. The scenery is unbeatable.
If you have never had the pleasure of experiencing a hammam (Turkish bathouse) before, then the Hammam Yalbougha al-Nasri in Aleppo is a great place to do it. In the mid-1980s, the Syrian government restored this 14th-century Mameluke hammam to full working order and opened…Read More
If you have never had the pleasure of experiencing a hammam (Turkish bathouse) before, then the Hammam Yalbougha al-Nasri in Aleppo is a great place to do it.
In the mid-1980s, the Syrian government restored this 14th-century Mameluke hammam to full working order and opened it back up to the public. This hammam is one of the largest, and certainly most ornate, hammams in all of Syria. From the outside the building looks like a typical Mameluke structure with a large entranceway and black and white stones, but, once you enter, a long and winding hallway takes you down into the main salon of the hammam, a large, lavishly decorated room with a raised platform running along the walls, on top of which are a series of padded benches. Built into the walls are small recesses covered by drapes and beads that act as changing rooms, and in the middle of the room is a large fountain.
When you enter you will have the choice of which services you would like, each costing a different amount. The all-inclusive package will run you 415 Lira (less than $10), meanwhile, a steam bath with some soap will cost you about 215 Lira. If this is your first real hammam experience, you have to go for the full package - it just wouldn’t be right if you didn’t.
If you opt for the full package, you will be given a security box to put your valuables in and then shown to one of the benches where an assistant will give you a red towel. You then take this towel into the changing alcove where you will strip down and put the towel around your waist. Note that no matter how comfortable you are with your body, that towel had better not leave your waist. After a bit, you will be given some wooden slippers and then led down another winding hallway, through the cold room and into the main bath area. From here, you will be shown the steam room where the temperature is the hottest. After sitting in there for a while, meaning after your pores have expunged themselves, you will be led back into the cold room by a large Arab man (or woman if you are a woman). With a series of grunts he will command you to sit up, lie down, and roll over as he takes a large glove with the consistency of steel wool and vigorously rubs it over your body. It will hurt a bit at first (you had better hope you are not sunburned), but, after a bit, it will actually start to feel good and you will feel even better when you see large rolls of dirt falling of your body, dirt that has probably been lodged in your skin for ten years.
After your exfoliation, your attendant will then take a loufa and some olive oil soap and give your entire body a good rub. Once soap has been grinded into every inch of exposed skin, you will be doused with water and cleansed. Then comes the best part - the massage. Your masseur will lay you down and then begin to use his fleshy arms to press deep into your chest, back, arms, and legs. He will press all his weight onto your spine, flattening you against the stone floor until every vertebrae cracks. Then your arms and legs will be bent into directions you never thought they could go, stretching your muscles and creating space between your compacted bones, all of it done quickly and forcibly but never inciting pain. Soon you will get a big slap on the back signifying that you are done and you will be left to wander back to the main steam area to sit and douse yourself with cold water from copper bowls. You will be left to sit for as long as you need and when you have fully recovered you can head back into cold area where the attendant will wrap you up like Tutankhamen in towels and then send you back into the main hall. Once in the main hall, you will be allowed to rest on your bench, drinking tea (and nargile if you wish) until you feel ready to go.
It’s truly a wonderful experience and will leave you feeling clean and refreshed the rest of the day. Note that although this hammam is a bit on the touristy side, it is still very traditional and everything is done in a traditional manner, and this means that there are separate times for men and woman. The times are set up by alternating days; men on Friday, women Saturday and so on. So if you are there with co-ed company, the best thing to do is just designate a bath time for each day. The whole process will take about an hour and a half, so if the men want to bathe one day, then the ladies can go to the National Museum or walk around the Old City. You can then alternate the next day. Also, this hammam is a bit more expensive than those in Damascus, so if you are visiting both cities and in a crunch for money, you may want to hold out for Damascus, but this hammam is definitely the grandest in Syria. Whether you bathe in Aleppo or Damascus, it is sure to be a great experience and one not to miss out on if you have never done it before.
The old city of Aleppo is a confusing labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets, covered bazaars, khans, mosques and madrasas, unlike any other in the world. Of all the great old cities of the Islamic world (I have been to from Marrakesh to Cairo to Istanbul),…Read More
The old city of Aleppo is a confusing labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets, covered bazaars, khans, mosques and madrasas, unlike any other in the world. Of all the great old cities of the Islamic world (I have been to from Marrakesh to Cairo to Istanbul), Aleppo is by far the most spectacular. It is so unique in fact that UNESCO has declared it a world heritage site. Walking through the old souks of Aleppo is the closest you can get to actually stepping back in time and witnessing the hectic life of an Islamic old city.
Most of the structures and souks in the old city of Aleppo are of Ottoman construction, and it was during the Ottoman period that Aleppo reached the height of its power. It was the center of trade for the Middle East, attracting traders from all over the Ottoman Empire, as well as Europe. During its heyday, Aleppo was full of Venetian, French, and British traders setting up shops right next to Arab, Armenian, and Turkish traders, buying goods to sell to the European elite in Venice, Paris, and London. Although those days are gone, Aleppo still hasn’t lost its cosmopolitan nature and its ability to attract traders from around the world.
There is still a huge Armenian population as well as a number of Turks, all who have established themselves in the Old City. The Venetians may have stopped coming, but they have been replaced by Russian traders who come to stock up on goods to take back to the major Russian cities. In the Aleppo of today, it is still possible to hear a range of languages being shouted out by shopkeepers, and a sign in Cyrillic is as easy to find as one in Arabic.
In terms of sights, the main attraction of the Old City is the city itself. Although, over the years, parts of the Old City succumbed to the pressures of modernization (you will notice there are no walls), the Syrian government, with the help of German engineers and archaeologists, have been reclaiming a much of the old city and restoring it to its former glory. The Syrian government has given tax breaks to people willing to open up shops in the old city, and their efforts seem to be working. The Old City is as alive today as it probably was in the Ottoman Era.
If you have visited other souks, like Khan el-Khalili in Cairo, the first thing you will notice about Aleppo is the virtual lack of touts, or people begging you to "have a look." Of course they are there, especially in the area right by the main gate, but, for the most part, you will be amazed by the almost completely hassle-free nature of walking around Aleppo. It is because of this that I recommend that when visiting the Old City - all you need to do is just walk. Start at one end, preferably at the entrance of Souk al-Attarin near the Citadel. This is the most tourist-oriented part of the Old City, and you will be able to find all those little trinkets and gifts you need for people back home. From here, all you have to do is just walk. You really don’t have to get worried about becoming lost either. This is nowhere near the maze that you will find in places like Fez, and a guide is definitely not necessary. The Old City is quite small and everything centers around the main street of Souk al-Attarin. If you ever get a little disoriented, all you have to do is walk and you will either end up on Souk al-Attarin or outside the Old City, from where you can just enter in again.
So that is my suggestion: just grab your camera, maybe a list of things to buy, and then just go. Let the streets tell you where to go. If you see something interesting, go look at it. You never have to worry about wandering into a bad part of the city, as there are none. You may walk into parts that are more local than others, where instead of pillow covers, they are selling cow hearts, but that is all part of the experience. You will soon discover that it is perfectly easy to spend a few good hours in the city. Take your time, there should be no rush.
Do not be afraid of the shopkeepers. They are all extremely friendly and willing to help you out in anyway. They may offer you some tea. Go ahead and sit, sip some tea, and chat with a shopkeeper. He will most likely have a few interesting stories to share. Of course he’ll show you all sorts of merchandise, but there is never any pressure. Never feel like you have to buy anything. You can sit, drink tea, and then walk away and the shopkeeper will think nothing less of you.
So just relish the opportunity to be one of the few tourists meandering around this window into another time. Take in the sights and the smells. Stop off for some lemon juice made with bitter, but refreshing Omani lemons. Make your way to the Umayyad Mosque or duck into a few madrasas to see beautiful examples of Ottoman architecture. The Old City of Aleppo is a world unlike anywhere else, and as of now, it’s relatively unscathed by the claws of tourism, but that is sure to change as Syria pushes its tourism agenda forward. See it while you can.
Written by HobWahid on 22 Sep, 2004
This is just an anecdote from my travels that I thought fit to share. Now, I have traveled all over the Middle East and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me, but I'm relating the story so that if…Read More
This is just an anecdote from my travels that I thought fit to share. Now, I have traveled all over the Middle East and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me, but I'm relating the story so that if it ever happens to you, you will know what to do.
There I was, in the courtyard of the Forty Martyrs Armenian Church in Aleppo quietly reflecting on the Armenian Genocide memorial when a discreet old man approached. "Where are you from?" He asked in Arabic. "America," I responded. He smiled, revealing a full set yellow, but surprisingly healthy teeth and asked if I would drink some tea. I politely declined, and then as Arab custom dictates, declined the next two offers. Finally, he was so insistent that I agreed. I figured that he was a guard (or similar position) at the church and actually liked the idea of sitting down and talking to someone about the Armenian community in Aleppo. As we walked out the door, however, I became a bit suspicious.
I immediately tried to rescind my acceptance, saying that I had a bus to catch because I was going back to Damascus. He said I had plenty of time and that buses leave every hour. "But..." I pleaded. I still had to go back to the hotel and I wanted to stop by the museum on my way to the station. He would give me no leave and ushered me into a coffee shop.
After the tea was ordered, he started talking. He was Iraqi, but was living in Syria now. We talked about Arabic, the U.S., places he'd traveled, all standard conversation stuff. "Maybe he does really want to just talk..." I thought to myself, but I remained suspicious.
When only a few drops of tea remained in my glass, sensing my desire to get going, he began with the story...
He had left Baghdad one year ago, paying 3,000 Euros for illegal passage into Italy, where he worked for a while, until he was discovered and forced to go back to Iraq. He escaped again, bribing the Turkish border guards to let him in. For three months he bounced around the Arabic speaking parts of Turkey (Anatakya, Iskanderun) doing odd jobs and getting by. Two weeks ago he crossed into Syria. He had yet to find a job. He was subsisting on tea and cigarettes, sometimes finding a friendly hotel owner to let him sleep on a couch, but more often sleeping on the street...
I asked the waiter for the check. He insisted on paying.
We walked towards my hotel. "I'm tired. I'm hungry. I have no place to live."
At the door of the hotel he asked if he should wait. I said no and goodbye. "But please, if you could just give something..." I don't really know why, but I wasn't in the mood for being swindled. "Something? If I had known that all you wanted was money, I would have followed you for tea!"
"But from the moment I saw you I knew that my prayers had been answered..."
"Prayers? No, I'm sorry."
"But please, I paid for the tea."
"I offered, but you refused. You invited me to tea. You paid. That's hospitality."
I shoved 25 lira at him. "There," I grumbled.
"But sir, the tea was..."
"Don't tell me what the tea was. Tea is never more that 25 lira. Take it."
He turned away. I went upstairs.
Now, before you think to yourself that I may be heartless and bitter, I have to explain that this man's story, although sad, was most likely not true.
First off, there were the linguistic signs. He spoke in perfect Syrian dialect, without a hint of Iraqi. If he had really arrived in Syria two weeks ago, there is no way he could speak like that. That is the equivalent of a British man coming to the U.S. and, two weeks later, speaking like a perfect American. Secondly, his clothes and general state were all too clean for someone who had been jobless for two weeks, not that that necessarily means something, but still. Also, he tried to lie about the price of tea.
And most of all, as I said, this is extremely rare behavior for the Middle East, and especially Syria. A tea invitation is an almost sacred thing, not something to be taken lightly, and certainly not a means for begging for money. Each time I related the story to a Syrian, they all agreed that there was no way the story was true, and that he was just one of the few bad Syrians who was trying to get a few dollars out of a foreigner, and telling an American a horror story from Iraq is a good way to do it.
The chances of anything like this happening to you are minimal. Syrians are some of the most friendly and hospitable people I have ever seen, and you will notice it right away. The amount of swindling that occurs is minimal compared to that in Morocco, Cairo, or Istanbul, but if anything like this does happen, don't believe the story right away, and know that even if he does buy you tea, you have NO obligation whatsoever.
Written by Zeid on 07 Jul, 2009
I made a telephone reservation for the above hotel 5 days prior to my arrival. The receptionist made a note of my name & nationality. I arrived at midday on that day only to be told that they had no record of my reservation &…Read More
I made a telephone reservation for the above hotel 5 days prior to my arrival. The receptionist made a note of my name & nationality. I arrived at midday on that day only to be told that they had no record of my reservation & that they could not accommodate me. Clearly, if they cannot honour telephone reservations they are not to be trusted.A better option is the nearby Al-Gawaher Hotel.Close