from Wikipedia Aleppo:
For other meanings, see Aleppo (disambiguation). Halab redirects here; for other meanings, see Halab (disambiguation).
Aleppo (Arabic: حلب ['ħalab], 36°13′N, 37°10′E) is a city in northern Syria, capital of the Aleppo Governorate; the Governorate extends around the city for over 16,000 km² and has a population of 4,393,000, making it the largest Governorate in Syria (followed by Damascus). Aleppo is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world; it knew human settlement since the eleventh millennium B.C. through the residential houses that were discovered in Tell Qaramel. It was known to antiquity as Khalpe, Khalibon, to the Greeks as Beroea, and to the Turks as Halep. During the Crusades, and again during the French Mandate, the name Alep was used: "Aleppo" is an Italianised version of this. It occupies a strategic trading point midway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates. Initially, Aleppo was built on a small group of hills surrounding the prominent hill where the castle is erected. The small river Quweiq (قويق) runs through the city.
The main role of the city was as a trading place, as it sat at the crossroads of two trade routes and mediated the trade from India, the Tigris and Euphrates regions and the route coming from Damascus in the South, which traced the base of the mountains rather than the rugged seacoast. Although trade was often directed away from the city for political reasons, it continued to thrive until the Europeans began to use the Cape route to India and later to utilize the route through Egypt to the Red Sea. Since then the city has declined and its chief exports now are the agricultural products of the surrounding region, mainly wheat, cotton, pistachios, olives, and sheep.