Souk Al-Khabieh in Aleppo is now being restored. The history of this souk goes back to thousand years, to the first emergence of the Silk Road. It was the main artery of the Silk Road, coming from Anatolia towards Aleppo. The most ancient trace in the souk goes back to the time of Al-Zaher Ghazi – son of Saladin. The souk contains a number of public water taps, which provide water to the caravans coming from the northern part of Syria, as well as a number of public baths, soap factories, quaysariat (group of industrial workshops), in addition to shops and bakeries. The souk consists of 109 shops, and is 210 meters long. While the souk in its current state goes 800 years back, it originally goes 2000 years back.
The restoration is being carried out by UNDP, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Greek and Syrian Orthodox Archdioceses, and the Government of Japan. The project has created over 100 emergency job opportunities. The project was originally expected to be completed by the end of March or the beginning of April, though it seems COVID-19 slowed down the project. Nevertheless, the project is ongoing and it is near completion – likely finished by the end of May.
Rubble and debris have been removed, a new ceiling has been installed and the main building has been restored. As of May 1, the project has reached a 100 percent completion rate in the replacement of the metal roof, the repair of damaged structures and the building of stone arches for the shops. As for the work to restore the stones facades, it has reached a 90 percent completion rate. Finally, the work to install doors and eaves of historical nature have reached an 85 percent completion rate. Once completed, the lighting of the souk will run on solar energy.