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Aleppo Heritage Catalogue - Documenting the Built Cultural Heritage of Aleppo

Given that its countless mosques, madrasas, churches, bazaars, caravanserais, city gates and citadels have been particularly affected, Aleppo’s Old City is a focal point of condition documentation efforts. In view of the dimensions of this task, the Gerda Henkel Stiftung has, since 2017, supported an important side-project of the Syrian Heritage Archive Project, which documents the destruction of historical monuments in the Old City and catalogues its structures.

Each entry in the catalogue focuses on a building in the old city of Aleppo, looking at the following:

  1. Photos showing the monuments before 2011, based on the Syrian Heritage Archive Project’s digital database.
  2. Reports and materials on the damage assessment of monuments from the side-project ‘Built Heritage Documentation’ (also funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung)
  3. Descriptions of the buildings, written from the perspective of art or architectural history by residents of Aleppo and international art historians
  4. The social and urban historical background
  5. Aleppo residents’ memories of these buildings and their surroundings in the form of texts, recordings, and films
  6. Detailed documents, drawings, and plans of the buildings

The goal of the project is, on the one hand, to enter into dialogue with Aleppines and Syrians about their cultural heritage, regardless of their political affiliation or their economic or social status, and, on the other, to start a discussion between residents of Aleppo, interest groups and experts. All groups are therefore invited to share their personal memories and to document the immaterial heritage of this city, which was known for its legendary food and the tightly woven fabric of its society and economy.

The project also aims to make national and international media aware of the importance of these monuments. In cooperation with UNESCO, it is making materials available for their reconstruction.

The catalogue will be published on the Gerda Henkel Stiftung’s scholarly platform L.I.S.A. The short films will also be shared on social media.

Project director: Dima Dayoub
Responsible bodies: Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Gerda Henkel Stiftung
Sponsor organisation: Gerda Henkel Stiftung
In operation: Since July 2017