Bayt Himsi
Aleppo, Syria
Bayt Himsi - a house owned by the Himsi or Homsi family of Aleppo - is a large, late nineteenth-century home in Aleppo. It was constructed in the 1890s, with parts of the building dated by inscription to 1898 and 1897, but likely constructed before. It was a private home until the 1920s, at which time it was converted to a hospital by an Italian doctor who lived in Aleppo. It then became known as the Mashfa al-Itali. It remained in operation until 1978, when it became a school run by Catholic nuns known as al-Madrasa al-Italiyya. 

The Himsi house is located on Jadat al-Aziziyya in the Aziziyya neighborhood of Aleppo, the new center of Christian Aleppo in the late nineteenth century. The house, one of the oldest standing in the neighborhood, was one of several constructed by members of the Himsi family. The house is a hybrid of traditional local newer, westernizing styles. It features a courtyard, like traditional Ottoman houses of the city, but unlike the case in traditional Aleppo houses, the courtyard does not function as the center of the home's activity and plan. Whereas in older homes the main reception area (qa'a) would have been located off the courtyard on the ground floor, here it is on an upper story and takes the form of a long, vaulted corridor with an exquisite painted ceiling.1 


Notes:

1. Kikoski, "Cultural Interchange," 12.


Sources:


Aleppo Photographic Museum. 2014. "Madkhal al-Mashfā al-Īṭālī fī Ḥalab arba’īniyyāt al-qarn al-māḍī ḥayy al-‘azīziyya." Facebook, April 28, 2014. 

Kikoski, Andre. "Cultural Interchange in The Late Ottoman Period: Transformations of Typology and Ornament in the Aleppin Bourgeois House." Aga Khan Summer Travel Grant Report, Submitted March 7, 1994. Aga Khan Visual Archive, Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT Libraries (AKDC@MIT).

iDAI Gazetteer record: 
Location
Jadat al-Aziziyya, Aleppo, Syria
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Associated Collections
Events
1895/1312 AH
ceiling painted in 1898/1315 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
بيت حمصي
Original
Bayt Himsi
Transliterated
Bayt Homsi
Alternate transliteration
Beit Homsi
Alternate transliteration
Beyt Homsi
Alternate transliteration
Building Usages
private residence
residential