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    The last stop of our little tour of the country was the charming city of Aleppo. The star of this post is the utterly atmospheric and famous Hotel Baron. Opened in 1909, it has seen a plethora of famous guests...

    <copypasta> from Wikipedia: The second floor of the hotel has witnessed the presence of political leaders and a lot of figures of culture: Lawrence of Arabia slept in room 202; King Faisal declared Syria's independence from the balcony in room 215; Agatha Christie wrote the first part of "Murder on the Orient Express" in room 203. The Presidential Suite was occupied in turn by King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, Syria's former President Hafez Al Assad, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (the founder of the United Arab Emirates), and the American billionaire David Rockefeller. Other notable guests include Dame Freya Stark, Julie Christie, Mr and Mrs Theodore Roosevelt, Kemal Attaturk, Lady Louise Mountbatten, Charles Lindberg and Yuri Gagarin. </copypasta>

    And of course, us. Abida has a rapport with Walid, the current manager, and we were welcomed with warm handshakes as we arrived after a long day of driving. Settling into our suite in rooms 208 and 209, we dusted off our clothes and lounged in the bar as we waited for the last member of our little traveling party.

    Several more photos in the comments - click the photo for a little taste of colonialism and (sorry to say, kitch).
    EF17-40mm f/4L USM | 25,0 sec | 19 mm | f/18 | ISO 100 | Aperture priority mode | 0 EV

    Daily Travel Photos .::. Pius Lee, and 3 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. jonmartin () 63 months ago | reply

      Kristian joined us in Aleppo, I had a whiskey waiting for him as he arrived.

      Note the beautiful poster, and for the linguistically challenged of you, here is what I can make out from the text (pardon my french):

      "Hotel Baron. The first class unique hotel in Aleppo. Transportation around the city at any time. Perfect comfort, unique location - the only recommended [hotel] by the tourist agency"

      The bar. This place reeks of history and ambience: from the old guy in the bar who at one moment seems to have just brought a cuppa for Agatha Christie as she hammers out another chapter of Murder on the Orient Express on her typewriter before rocking to Bob Marley the next, to the deep chairs where you can just feel Churchill's butt imprint (ok I just made that up now but the Bob Marley thing was very true and out of this world)

      While their whisky selection was poor to say the least (Winston sure would have been disappointed), they had a refreshing stock of Turkish Efes beer, which is a nice change after guzzling the Lebanese Almazze for weeks (I won't begin on a rant about the Syrian Barada - its namesake river smells of sewage, and, well....)

      One of too few wall decorations---ah, the days of train travel - and a safe Iraq.

      I am looking forward to the day I will go visit what is left of Mesopotamia, however with all the looting I am sure it will be an experience with equal amounts of joy and sadness.

      Apparently, tourism is beginning to flourish in the Kurdish regions in the north, so perhaps in a year or two you'll see some photos from there--after all it is only a few hours drive from Damascus. I have to admit, it is kind of cool to see roadsigns for Baghdad when you're out driving...

      The 1914 bar bill of "Monsieur Laurens" - better known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia, the adventurous British intelligence officer who could have succeded in creating a solution for the Middle East before the current tensions were even thought of. Alas, politics got in the way of a united Arab state, and as they say:

      Syria is the cradle of civilization, and the Gaza strip is the graveyard.

      Close-up of T.E. Lawrence's bar bill from his stay here (apparently run by the Brothers Mazloumian, a transcribation of Muslim I assume).

      We had a plan of matching his bill, bottle by bottle, but I could not for the life of me make out the longhand.

      The currency seems to be in francs, and not many invoices nowadays get a nice little stamp pasted on them...

      Open challenge: If you can translate the text for me, I'll buy you the equivalent round next time we hang out here!

      Time has truly stood still here...

      Expelling food in three, two, one...

      The main staircase. The hotel celebrates 100 years next year (though Wikipedia claims it opened in 1909 so who knows), and while it has seen better days, it is more than worth a visit and perhaps an overnight stay.

      I hope they will add some furniture of the proper style to the hallways, the Baron is right now slightly barren (I never pardon my puns, live with it)...

      And now for my utmost apologies on this last photo....

    2. Mazda6 (Tor) 63 months ago | reply

      purple glow on the facade is awesome...

      ...I wonder how a fisheye would have worked here to squeeze in the traffic on the right as well. (I'm kind of disillusioned with the fisheye in general; it is the lens that I sometimes forget is in my bag.)

    3. spetsnaz1991 55 months ago | reply

      Incredible!!!!! A real piece of art!!!! With your permission, I'd like to add this image to the Wikipedia article on Baron Hotel. To consent, simply release this photo under the "Attribution Creative Commons" license from the "edit" link under the "Additional Information" section of this photo's page. (Note that you must allow Derivative Works and Commercial Usage to be accepted in Wikipedia.) You will be credited for your work. Thanks in advance.

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