The Citadel of Aleppo is the centre of a historic city, which is registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site. The conservation project undertaken by the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) within the Citadel of Aleppo underlined the need for an intervention at its perimeter. Within the scope of the ‘Project for the Rehabilitation of the Old City of Aleppo’, an urban design study was implemented for the Perimeter of the Citadel of Aleppo, in cooperation with the Old City Directorate and GTZ (German Technical Cooperation Agency). The City of Aleppo and AKTC signed a protocol in 2003 detailing the objectives and conditions of this study.
One of the main objectives of the Citadel Perimeter project involved the planning and control of the spread of commercial functions in ways that might jeopardize the comfort, economy and environment of the adjacent residential areas. It was also important to open new cultural development opportunities through the reuse of existing historic buildings and to steer tourist and commercial functions into a direction that is beneficial to the particular areas involved and the Old City in general.
The traffic situation of the Aleppo Citadel Perimeter was no longer suitable for the quality of such an exceptional site. An appropriate traffic management system supported the function of the central commercial zone created by the souks of the Old City. The optimization of traffic permitted the creation of the main public spaces as a representative cultural zone for the whole city.
The main objectives for the Old City comprise reorientation of the traffic in and around the Citadel area, including pedestrian issues, public transport networks and parking areas; the control of future planning and the protection of the physical and historical environment of the Citadel Perimeter; the control of the spread of commercial functions in ways that might jeopardize the comfort, economy and environment of residential areas; steering the commercial development in a direction that is most beneficial to the particular areas involved and the Old City in general as tourism activity; protecting the surrounding residential areas, especially from the pressure of commercial functions; adoption of a land-use plan that enhances the tourist and cultural functions and complements rehabilitation efforts; proposition for future use of each of the major public or vacant buildings; and the improvement of public spaces, infrastructure elements, landscaping, pavements, lighting, details and so on.
The Citadel and its surroundings are one of the most famous cultural heritage sites in the Near East. They are at the heart of a lively historic town and the traditional administrative centre of the city. The Citadel is the landmark of a city of two million inhabitants and of high value for the image of the city. Together with its surroundings, the Citadel is a recreational area for residents and visitors, a cultural attraction of international and national standing, and an archaeological site of great importance for scientific research.