Friday 4 January 2013

Historic Aleppo Market Burns

The historic Aleppo Market in Syria was ravaged by fire this week as rebels and government forces continue their war. The event has triggered an evaluation of markets across the globe and much of the conversation is directly relevant to our own Queen Victoria Market.

Aleppo Market was developed in the 15th and 16th centuries as a trading place for everyday goods spiced with the unusual and unexpected. It has survived a series of invasions, and religious and cultural changes. Until this week’s events it had shown incredible resistance (and no doubt it will be rebuilt) but Aleppo shows that the glue that binds markets is different.
Markets offer a casual informality that contrasts greatly with the glass and steel deserts of more modern retailing. Markets are sometimes seen as untidy and ad-hoc, but it is the essence of informality and low cost operating that has ensured their survival over centuries.

Somehow markets survive turmoil and you only have to look at the incredible variety of nationalities and cultures within our market as a good example. While many traders have religious counterparts overseas who are trying to kill each other, here we work side by side in a common bond that roughly translates to “trying to live a peaceful life, bring up our families, and earn a dollar”. These are simple aims that rise above those of governments and property developers and fortunately have relevance to our customers.