Deciphering the palimpsest structure of a city is an effective means of discovering the processes that underlie its physical character. Aleppo in the south-eastern part of the Mediterranean basin, was built incrementally following principles that endured over a long period. Its stone-based building technology has produced such permanent urban forms that its urban landscape is a palimpsest of an urban development from an initially spontaneous settlement, adapted to regional, and later, imperial urban standards (Hellenistic and Roman-Byzantine) and finally becoming part of a local dialectical process that led the city to develop an individual urban form from Umayyad times onwards. In Aleppo, it is impossible to understand the structure of the urban fabric of the medieval Islamic and Ottoman city without taking into account the role played by the substratum of the Hellenistic-Roman- Byzantine city in its conformation.
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