A corner of Aleppo in Hamburg
Rami Tawil fled from Aleppo in Syria to Germany two years ago. This year, Rami took his first trip to Hamburg and found a little corner of Aleppo there - in the heart of the Speicherstadt warehouse district.
Now a student at the Academy of Visual Arts in Frankfurt, Rami Tamil posts his impressions of Germany and Europe on Instagram under the name of @ramitawil.artwork.
What's your first impression of Hamburg?
I love Hamburg, particularly the people here. They're very nice and give me the feeling that I'm at home here and belong here. The people of Hamburg have the capacity to value and integrate other cultures – I think they've created a multicultural city. There's another thing I like: the art scene isn't as commercial as in Frankfurt. You can see that particularly in the street art scene in St. Pauli. There are masses of art galleries and concerts in Hamburg. It's difficult to walk through the city without being inspired.
Your photo sending greetings to Syria touched our hearts. What do you see Hamburg and Aleppo as having in common?
The first time I visited Hamburg, I was suddenly aware of a similarity between Hamburg and Aleppo. It's a similarity that I didn't see, but I sensed. I've visited a lot of European cities, but Hamburg is the only one that evoked a feeling of home in me. It's about the survival and resurgence of a city: Hamburg was destroyed in World War II and is now flourishing in all its old splendour. When I saw the Fleetschlösschen, the “Little Castle on the Canal” in the Speicherstadt, it reminded me of the Citadel in Aleppo, a historical site that has existed for thousands of years and survived the war in Syria. That's why I brought this picture with me on my second visit, to send greetings to the residents of Aleppo and say to people “Aleppo will rise again, just like Hamburg”.
How do you use the Instagram app, and how is it used in Syria?
I've found many friends all over the world through Instagram. I also used the app when I first arrived in Germany, to find friends and stay in touch with my family and friends in Syria. In Hamburg, I got to know the @igershamburg and was present at one of their Instameets. Later on I explored the city with @_Marvn. He even sent me a list of photo motifs afterwards. Instagram is also very popular in Syria and is used to photograph everyday life. Since the war, it's become a communication channel for more and more Syrians who fled the country and are scattered all over the world.
Thank you, Rami, and ahoi!