Once a Muse for Agatha Christie, Aleppo’s Iconic Baron Hotel is now a Shelter for Refugees

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Baron Hotel © Jon Martin

Being built at the end of the 19th century, the Baron Hotel is considered to be the oldest hotel in Syria and the region. The idea of constructing a grand and luxurious hotel was suggested by Armen Mazloumian the grandfather of Armen Mazloumian Jr., who’s the current owner and manager of Baron Hotel.

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Archaeological Map of Syria/ Baron Hotel © Victor Sloan

Around the 1870s, Mazloumian was on his way from Eastern Anatolia as an asylum seeker to Jerusalem, when he noticed how European tourists and merchants were dissatisfied with their stay at the crumbling caravansaries or khans which were the guests’ only option back then. As a result, the Ararat Hotel, which was later renamed to Baron Hotel, was founded by the Mazloumian family and located in downtown Aleppo.

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Baron Hotel’s Bar © Yvonne

Apart from being one of Syria’s well-known commercial hubs, this hotel is also recognized for its notable guest list. From novelists (Agatha Christie) and revolutionaries (Lawrence of Arabia) to astronauts (Yuri Gagarin) and presidents (Charles de Gaulle), the Baron Hotel stood out as a favorite destination for honorable guests from around the globe.

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The Orient Express Poster/ Baron Hotel © Victor Sloan

It is also worth mentioning that Agatha Christie’s muse to write one of her most-prominent novels “Murder on the Orient Express” was inspired from a poster hanging on Baron Hotel’s walls, which was advertising a train service known as the Orient Express.

Throughout these recent years, the fate of this remarkable hotel was bitter. Since 2014, Baron Hotel was forced to close its doors. However, in the midst of war, the Baron Hotel’s owners proved their love for hospitality by welcoming several families who were seeking refuge. Today, the Baron Hotel stands still as a reminder of how paradoxical our lives can truly become. Whether in times of prosperity or war, it is truly important to help others and be HUMAN.

To view more photos, please visit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11239988/War-in-Syria-takes-toll-on-Aleppos-oldest-hotel-in-pictures.html?frame=3111065

-Chougher Maria Doughramajian

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