Syria’s unique ancient treasures are another victim of the escalating conflict. With no regard for their historical significance for the country and the world, museums are being plundered, works of art sold off and ancient, Byzantine and medieval archaeological sites shelled and stripped of their treasures. Andreas Kilb reports
In the second century BC, Apamea on the bank of the Orontes River was a major Mediterranean metropolis. The Seleucid King Antiochus set up camp here with his army and 500 war elephants before crossing the Euphrates in the spring to battle with the invading Parthians from the Asian steppes.
Around the time of the birth of Christ, the city and its surrounding lands boasted a population of a half a million. A century later, after a devastating earthquake, thermal baths were built and a 2-kilometre-long, 40-metre-wide thoroughfare lined on both sides by twenty-metre-high columns was constructed from the north to the south of the city. In the twelfth century, Crusaders and Arab emirs fought over Apamea.