The once-resplendent Temple of Bel, dedicated to the principal deity of this ancient metropolis, has been reduced to a single sculpted arch rising gracefully from a jagged pile of tumbled columns and monumental stone blocks etchedwith grape vines and acanthus leaves.
Also leveled are the Temple of Baalshamin, a Semitic god of the heavens, and the Arch of Triumph, an iconic assemblage whose image is stamped on Syria’s 10-pound coin.
Still standing, however, are most of the stately colonnades lined up for nearly a mile along the main boulevard.
The fate of the historic city has remained a question mark since Islamic State militants who controlled it were driven out in March for the second time. The Los Angeles Times, which negotiated multiple Syrian army checkpoints to travel here recently, is one of the first Western news organizations to survey the destruction.