Aleppo, Syria

Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and serves as the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. It is located in northwestern Syria 310 kilometres (193 miles) from Damascus. With an official population of 2,132,100 (2004 census), it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant. For centuries, Aleppo was the region of Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo.

Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world; it has been inhabited since perhaps as early as the 6th millennium BC. Excavations at Tell as-Sawda and Tell al-Ansari, just south of the old city of Aleppo, show that the area was occupied since at least the latter part of the 3rd millennium BC; and this is also when Aleppo is first mentioned in cuneiform tablets unearthed in Ebla and Mesopotamia, in which it is noted for its commercial and military proficiency. Such a long history is probably due to its being a strategic trading point midway between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia.
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