Palmyra, Syria: It’s a front-page story in the New York Times (April 5) and an online photo essay of how the ancient city’s archeological treasures, the remnants of a 2000 year old civilization – made up of Roman, Persian and other local cultures – have been destroyed by ISIS, through willful destruction and by looting by all sides of this war.
Palmyra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for an exceptional amphitheater, triumphal arches, the Lion of al-Lat which sat at the entrance to the Palmyra Museum. Whether smashed by hand or leveled by explosions carried out by the Islamic state, many of the beautiful remnants of past civilizations are reduced to shards. The amphitheater from the second century a.d. century still remains (and so too the museum!) pock-marked by rounds of bullets, said to be the site where mass executions took place.
Photographer Bryan Denton traveled there with a Hezbollah escort and created this record of ruin. It’s war photography of a different sort, but essential.
Read Denton’s firsthand account and his photo essay (courtesy of The New York Times)
Go to the UNESCO web site for a gallery of what the archeological sites and treasures of Palmyra looked like before their destruction.
The destruction characterized by one Syria militiaman as the “ruins have been ruined.” A loss not just for Syria but for the world.
In a future story, Green News Update will look at the spiral of destruction and looting of ancient sites and archeological museums in the Middle East, from the destruction of the massive Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban in 2001 to Iraq and Syria.