Aleppo, Capital of Islamic culture 2006


Aleppo, Capital of Islamic culture 2006

The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) chose the Syrian city of Aleppo as the capital of Islamic culture for the year 1427 H/2006, because of its traditional architecture and cultural, scientific, artistic and economic activities but also because “ Aleppo is a model of Islamic cities as regards religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence between communities of varying traditions and doctrines. It has assimilated past civilizations within the framework of flexible Moslem culture appealing to dialogue, wisdom and enlightened religious guidance.”

The oldest inhabited city in history
Aleppo is the oldest inhabited city in history. It knew human settlement since the eleventh millennium B.C. through the residential houses which were discovered in Al-Qaramel Hill. Aleppo has been conquered by many nations and civilizations since the 4th millennium B.C., it knew the Sumerians, Acadians, Amorites, Babylonians, Hithies, Mitanians, Assyrians, Arametes, Chaldeans, Greeks , Romans and Byzantines. The Arabian tribes lived in the 1st millennium B.C. till the time of the Islamic conquest which was a liberation from the European Byzantine occupation on one hand and a human civilized rebalance to the native people on the other hand . The Islamic civilization through its flexibility formed a new horizon that reshaped other civilizations in this supreme tolerant form , that form called for peace and brotherhood . fifteen centuries ago up till now Aleppo becomes one of the most important Islamic cities through its economical, historical, artistic and cultural legacy.

Aleppo, Capital of Islamic culture 2006

The Islamic city
Aleppo is also a model of Islamic cities with its ancestral Islamic architecture dating back to the year 16 Hegira (637 approximately). It passed through the Ummayad and Abbassid era (the reigns of the Hamdanides, Seljukides, Zenkides and Ayyoubides) and the Mamlouk and Ottomans eras.
Their architecture had multiple functional components, such as fortresses, gates, covered souks, khans, mosques, churches, hammams, hospital, schools etc Each of these periods left an outstanding heritage which prompted UNESCO to designate Aleppo as one of the most significant Islamic cities. In addition, Aleppo produced through out its history a rich cultural heritage, particularly in the Court of Saif Addawlat Al Hamadani, who had known intellectual celebrities, such Al Farabi, Al Khawarizmi, Al Motanabbi and Asfahani. Similar intellectual activities also took place in the court of Ghazi Al Ayyoubi. Moreover, for more then two thousands years, Aleppo was the most significant commercial stopover on the Silk Road and other international trade routes.

The celebrations
Aleppo, as the capital of Islamic culture, is preparing many celebrations: eight international conferences throughout 2006 and 150 lectures in different parts of the city and the university. Many works about the city will be published. Traditional buildings have been restored for exhibitions of visual arts, photographs, manuscripts, documents, clothes, artifacts, cuisine and books. Concerts, plays and films are also planned.

The scientific symposia
The themes are very rich and diverses: Islam and Human Rights, Aleppo and the Dialogue of Cutlures, Intellectual and Literary life in the Court of Seif Ad-Dawla. Scientific and Intellectual Output of Aleppo in the Islamic Era, Economic Life in Aleppo Across History, The Non-Materialistic Cultural Heritage of Aleppo in the Islamic Era, The Role of Aleppo in the Enlightenment Movement, The Philosophy of Islamic Architecture
Babelmed editorial team

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