The Syrian government is trying to distract you from the ruin of Aleppo with “Game of Thrones”-themed tourism

Wish you weren’t here.
Wish you weren’t here.
Image: Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail
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Come to Aleppo for the tree-lined streets, spacious green parks, and bright blue pools. Stay for the rubble and bombed-out hospitals.

The Syrian Ministry of Tourism has released a new promotional video of Aleppo that shows the city as a bright and bustling metropolis like any other. And perhaps stranger is that it attempts to mask the utter terror of life in the city by evoking the popular (and extremely bloody) HBO TV show Game of Thrones.

The video is set to a cover of the show’s theme song, and shows aerial shots of minarets and streets, in the style of the show’s opening credits, which pans across different regions of its fictional world. The promo shows nothing of the rebel-held eastern part of the city, which is under siege and was reportedly hit by about 2,000 bombs in the past week.

The video was released by the ministry on Sept. 29, a day after two airstrikes on hospitals in eastern Aleppo killed at least six people. It’s not clear when the footage was shot.

TV channel France 24 shows the stark contrast between what the tourism video shows and the eastern regions of the city:

Strange videos aside, it isn’t advisable for any travelers to plan a casual getaway to Aleppo. The analogy to a show like Game of Thrones, which is rife with death and destruction, only makes that more obvious.