Following 18 months of restoration, 60 shops in Khan al-Harir, the oldest site in Syria's ancient city of Aleppo, have reopened their doors to shoppers and visitors.
Before the conflict in Syria erupted, Khan al-Harir was a vital destination for selling locally made textiles, silk and other kinds of fabrics, which Aleppo was famous for.
Jamal Satout, owner of a shop in Souk al-Majidiya in Khan al-Harir told CGTN he was delighted with the reopening of the Khan, and considered its conditions nowadays better than before.
"It has a natural look, and we also have a higher rate of work," he said. "The electricity supply is quite good, services as well. They restored the stony walls better than before. They covered the paths with stony tiles, too."
Mohamad Hamemi is a textile merchant and trader in Khan al-Harir. He remains nostalgic about the old days when the neighboring merchants used to meet and gossip.
"The most memories that relate to markets are when we, the neighbors, used to sit together for a morning coffee and chat about our daily agenda, complain about our concerns," he continued. "We had a simple happy lifestyle."
Hamemi and other merchants hope to regain the losses caused by the destruction.
"Though the markets have reopened to shoppers, more efforts are needed," Hamemi said. "We have to cope and produce as soon as possible to offer our goods and sell them."
He hopes that the small steps they are making will attract more consumers.
Walking down the paths of Khan al-Harir, closed shops still can be seen. Their owners may have left to other markets like "Telephone Hawii" and "AlJabiriya," specialized textile souks in Aleppo. But many others have left the country.
Before 2012, when rebels took control of Aleppo and large parts of Syria's second key city, it was Syria's economic power house, where many industries were producing goods with a very high quality and at affordable prices, especially textiles.
Khan al-Harir is located in the trade hub near the Great Omayyad Mosque, and it extends for 2,000 square meters.
Aleppo's economy is struggling to return to the golden days. The city is still suffering the repercussions of fighting, though it ended in 2016 when the Syrian Army recaptured the rebel-held territories. The hardships have been exacerbated because the country is suffering shortages of essentials.
The restoration of Khan al-Harir was carried out by the Aga Khan Foundation and the Syria Trust for Development under the supervision of Aleppo Governorate and the Aleppo Municipal City Council.