On my last visit to Syria, five years ago, the restoration of the Great Mosque in Aleppo was finally complete after many years' work.
The courtyard was thronged with elegant Aleppan women in sunglasses, wearing long coats down to the ground, because it was still cold, and richly coloured headscarves. (Outside the mosque some women were wearing tight jeans and smart calf-length boots.) Children ran and slid on the marble pavement, wrestled and did cartwheels, except when occasionally shooed off by a guard. The restoration work had been done with care and judgement, for the Syrians have by far the best visual taste in the Arab world.
I liked to frequent a hamam in the heart of the local souk. This was not the grand touristic hamam of Aleppo, but a largely working-class one. Sometimes I was accompanied by a local who was a friend of the owner – in which case, instead of the normal cotton fabrics in which one wrapped oneself to cool off after the baths, fine antique silk ones were produced.