Like many other archaeological sites in Iraq, access to Hatra has been limited by instability and cycles of violence that followed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
Baghdad – The ancient city of Hatra withstood Roman invasions nearly 2,000 years ago and decades of more recent war and instability in Iraq but then jihadists marked it for destruction.
The Islamic State (ISIS) vandalised Hatra, 110km south-west of Mosul, and is reported to still have a presence in the area, which may put the famed archaeological site in the line of fire as Iraqi forces fight to drive the jihadists back.
Hatra, known as Al-Hadhr in Arabic, was established in the second or third century BC and became a religious and trading centre under the Parthian empire.
It was surrounded by two walls — one of earth and another of stone that was dotted with towers.