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As old as the hills

Nalynn Dolan Caine ▼ | January 26, 2010
They are among the world's oldest continually-inhabited cities and the centres of the ancient civilisations and trade. Athens and Aleppo are their names.
AthenaThey are among the world's oldest continually-inhabited cities and the centres of the ancient civilisations and trade. Athens and Aleppo are their names.

Athens, Greece
Athens is one of the Mediterranean's charming cities where time is still going slowly and history and present lives their daily routine. If you like to take pictures of historical places, Athens is definitively the place to be seen. But if you really want to meet its heart beat, stroll through its charming old streets, feel the buzz on its squares and vibrant beaches, find the table in some little cafe in one of its back streets and enjoy the history from the different angle.

PlakaPlaka, one of the oldest and nicest parts of Athens situated under the Acropolis is definitively the place to visit. At that place, which is almost without automobile traffic, you will find restaurants, galleries, museums, shops and Byzantino Jewelery store, probably one of the best jewellery stories in Athens.

The Frissiras Museum which hosts contemporary paintings from private collection, one of its kind in Greece, is situated here in Plaka, and also Brettos distillery, the second oldest and most beautiful bar in Athens. AnafiotikaThe part of Plaka that could surprise you the most is Anafiotika. Its small white houses and charming gardens give the impression like you have just entered an island in the middle of the city.

For the perfect end of the day visit Cine Paris, an outdoor rooftop cinema situated under Acropolis. If you would like to spend the night on more elegant way visit Kolonaki, one of the city's most fashionable areas with trendy bars and restaurants and a wide range of museums and galleries.

Aleppo, Syria
Aleppo is the second largest Syrian city situated in a semi-desert region in the north-western part of the country. It was inhabited 11,000 years BC and became the central city of the most important ancient trade routes established some 2,000 years BC. Nowadays it has still kept its trade spirit and you could hear locals saying: "An Aleppine can sell even a dried donkey skin."

AleppoAleppo, the city with "the thousand and one night" charm is famous for its ancient citadel with medieval fortress, the true master work of Arab architecture which dominates the city and Madrasa Faradis, the most beautiful mosque with a courtyard and a pool in the middle. As the true trade city Aleppo has the largest (12 hectares) covered market in the world, it produces its own Al-Sharg beer and world famous Aleppo soap made of olive oil and bay leaf.

Aleppo CitadelThe finest food in Syria can be found here, in Aleppo, with Sissi House at the top of restaurants. Theodore Roosevelt, Agatha Cristie and T. E. Lawrence "of Arabia" visited city's most charismatic Baron Hotel, so rest there for a while, take a drink and enjoy the spirit. Talking about names, probably the name of Muhammed Ahmed Faris will not ring the bell, but he is the first Syrian in space (and the second Arab).

Before you leave Aleppo let all your senses enjoy and visit some of the city's finest restaurants, Public Park of Aleppo, the largest in Syria and Hammam Yalbouga, the Syria's grandest bathhouse.