The ancient city of Palmyra…in ruins

“An oasis in the Syrian desert, north-east of Damascus, Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.” UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city and the archaeological sites have been occupied by ISIS, which is intent on destroying the remarkable ruins that have survived for centuries. Visit the UNESCO webpage for more images (Gallery) and a short video.

“ISIS Speeds Up Destruction of Antiquities in Syria,” by Anne Barnard, New York Times, August 24, 2015.

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A photo released by the Islamic State shows a detonation in the 2,000-year-old Temple of Baalshamin in Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra. Credit Militant website, via Associated Press


12 thoughts on “The ancient city of Palmyra…in ruins

  1. Samantha Alvey

    It’s quite hard looking at all the wonderful images of the Palmyra site and seeing all the beauty in the artwork knowing that they are being destroyed. It seems crazy that someone would try and destroy such beautiful work. Although, throughout history I suppose artwork being destroyed during times of conflict or war was not uncommon. I makes me wonder what other great pieces of art were lost due to violence?

  2. Michael Ryan

    I remember reading about this about a week ago on the internet and being appalled by the way these people are treating these historical sites. I read an article about Khalid al-Asaad and how he was murdered by ISIS because he was protecting and hiding some of the artifacts from Palmyra and refused to give them up. These militants have no regards for human life or for ancient and historical sites.

  3. Reina Datta

    It’s difficult to see Palmyra turn into a pile of rubble after being such a historical landmark. What’s happening is not only are we losing beautiful and influential artifacts, we are losing history even more rapidly than we realize. ISIS is assuring that nothing is remembered, through their heinous acts. They’ve made a statement, but they don’t want to just stop at a “statement”.

  4. Samuel Strader

    Seeing a monument that has been described as the “jewel in the collection” being destroyed for a reason that is not related to the reason at all is disheartening. These types of crimes are a brand new type of war crime, one that is a loss for the people of this direct area as well as a loss for all of humanity. All though this city is in ruins, ISIS will not be able to destroy the significance of this ancient city.

  5. Maureen Sullivan

    Hearing about these beautiful ancient cities being destroyed out of hatred is very upsetting. Knowing that Palmyra contained such important ruins of a city that was once one of the most important in the world, and now seeing it being destroyed is truly heartbreaking. It is sad for two reasons, for one, all of the history that still stood after all of these centuries, is gone. The people who once worked tirelessly to build such a great city, now have almost nothing to show for it. Second, the current and future generations will never have the opportunity to visit these amazing places. It is sad to think that within just a couple of years, entire cities will no longer exist because of the hatred and selfishness feel inside them.

  6. Cara Dudley

    It’s sad to see such beauty destroyed. There’s so much history to this city that it’s a shame they’re destroying it all. Now of one the only ways to know it existed is to look at pictures. No one will ever be able to visit this city and see what was left because now it’s all gone. However, history can’t be deleted. People will know it was once there. This historical site and these great pieces of art lost forever. It’s hard to believe.

  7. Kayla

    It is sad to think that this beautiful piece of history is just being destroyed just because of anger or hatred. No one will be able to experience what those people in the past did or see history with their own eyes. It’s depressing actually that a whole culture is being destroyed out of malicious intent. Its almost selfish. I guess now people can see pictures but it isn’t the same as actually seeing it.

  8. Gunner Hasting

    It is a tragedy that the antiquities in the middle east are being destroyed. It shows the history of the various cultures and religions that inhabited the area. The various art and people who created the art contributed to an era that was involved with art a great deal. The fact that it is being destroyed erases components of cultural importance and impacts the future of human understanding.

  9. Dalton Baughn

    The destruction of any historical sight is heartbreaking, but ones like Palmyra that hold such historical significance is terrible beyond words. Sights like this provide the world with such beauty, and insight into how our species lived so long ago. Without historical places like this we would not have any of the art, literature, and culture that we do. People that have no regard for history are people that have no right tampering with it.

  10. Erica Parker

    It extremely sad they chose destroy this beautiful location. This history and art is not only beneficial to that part of the world, but to the entire world. It is something that could be studied and touched with the human hand. Memories from seeing that location with its monuments and architecture for the first time will never be made again. It is wonderful that we have photograph and descriptions to somehow see what it use to be, but nothing compares to being able to see and touch these things in person.

  11. Allison Skowronski

    It is sad to see that people are destroying such a historically rich area for sport and to create fear. ISIS members are destroying everything in their path with no regard for the historical impact as well as the art which was stored in this area. Although ISIS destroyed Palmyra, they cannot take away the pride that people have for that area and the lessons people have learned in that city.

  12. John Wray

    It is very sad to see cities like this being destroyed and ransacked. The careless that these people have for a place as special as this. Humanity does not exists to these kinds of people that they are blinded by something else. It is awful to see a city go as old as this one and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. We just have to remember what these great cities were and not for the way they are not. That people can destroy the physical part but never can get rid of the memories it once had.


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