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Here Are the Ancient Sites ISIS Has Damaged and Destroyed

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Author Topic: Here Are the Ancient Sites ISIS Has Damaged and Destroyed  (Read 556 times)
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« on: September 06, 2015, 12:16:19 am »



Palmyra thrived for centuries in the desert east of Damascus as an oasis and stop for caravans on the Silk Road. Part of the Roman Empire, it was a thriving, wealthy metropolis. The city-state reached its peak in the late 3rd century, when it was ruled by Queen Zenobia and briefly rebelled against Rome.

Zenobia failed, and Palmyra was re-conquered and destroyed by Roman armies in A.D. 273. Its colonnaded avenues and impressive temples were preserved by the desert climate, and in the 20th century the city was one of Syria’s biggest tourist destinations.

(Read: How Ancient Palmyra, Now in ISIS's Grip, Grew Rich and Powerful.)

ISIS seized the modern town of Palmyra and the ancient ruins nearby were seized in May. The militants initially promised to leave the site’s columns and temples untouched. Those promises were empty: In August, they publicly executed Khaled al-Asaad, a Syrian archaeologist who oversaw excavations at the site for decades, and hung his headless body from a column.
Picture of Isis allegedly blowing up part of Palmyra

The Temple of Baal Shamin at Palmyra was attacked last month by ISIS fighters using improvised explosives. The group released photos of the destruction, and satellite images have since confirmed the Roman-era building was wiped out.
Photograph by Kyodo, AP

And the group released photos last month of militants rigging the 1,900-year-old Temple of Baalshamin with explosives and blowing it up. It was one of Palmyra’s best-preserved buildings, originally dedicated to a Phoenician storm god. Now it is nothing but rubble.

Just days later, explosions were reported at the Temple of Baal, a nearby structure that was one of the site’s largest, and a United Nations agency says the building was flattened.
Mar Elian Monastery

The Christian monastery was captured in August, when ISIS militants captured the Syrian town of al-Qaryatain near Palmyra. Dedicated to a 4th-century saint, it was an important pilgrimage site and sheltered hundreds of Syrian Christians. Bulldozers were reportedly used to topple its walls, and ISIS posted pictures of the destruction on Twitter.

A rich Roman-era trading city, Apamea has been badly looted since the beginning of Syria's civil war, before ISIS appeared. Satellite imagery shows dozens of pits dug across the site; previously unknown Roman mosaics have reportedly been excavated and removed for sale. ISIS is said to take a cut from sales of ancient artifacts, making tens of millions of dollars to fund their operations.

A Greek settlement on the Euphrates not far from Syria's border with Iraq, Dura-Europos later became one of Rome's easternmost outposts. It housed the world's oldest known Christian church, a beautifully decorated synagogue, and many other temples and Roman-era buildings. Satellite imagery shows a cratered landscape inside the city's mud-brick walls, evidence of widespread destruction by looters.
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