The Institute for Digital Archaeology /a , in association with the UK Permanent Mission…
Mighty military strongholds from ancient castles to modern innovations.
A fortress protects and gives military personnel a safe harbor from the enemy. But not all fortresses were created equal. And they certainly weren’t all created the same. We look over time and distance to find the 30 most impressive fortresses from around the world and throughout history.
Crac des Chevaliers, Syria
Built by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem from 1142 to 1271, the Crusader castle in Syria—and a UNESCO World Heritage site—stands as one of the most preserved examples of fortification from the era. Perched on a high ridge, the fortress has both a defensive and attacking mindset that helped keep it safe from would-be pursuers.
Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipelago
On an atoll about 1,000 miles from India, this joint operation between the U.S. and U.K. handles logistical support for troops in the Middle East. The remote location gives it the ability to track satellites and run a Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance system.
Read more from source: The World’s 30 Most Impressive Fortresses
Going by different names depending on the media outlet, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – Daesh, IS, ISIS, or ISIL – has made sure to gain many other titles to go along with their heinous acts in the region.
Taking over Syria and Iraq in 2014, the terrorist group went after ethnic and religious minorities, as well as numerous historic sites – which by title belong to the world, as UNESCO categorizes them.
As many thousand-year-old cities and artifacts have been demolished, bulldozed, and looted by ISIS, this list remembers 10 of the oldest and most important sites that went under attack.
1. Roman Theatre in Bosra, Syria
The Roman Theatre in Bosra has been one of Syria’s historical sites since the 2nd century AD.
The façade of the theatre was destroyed by the terrorist group, who used “dynamite, fire, bulldozers and pickaxes,” according to NPR.
2. Tetrapylon in Palmyra, Syria
After ISIS took over Palmyra in 2015, its members rampaged the Tetrapylon monument which dates back to 270 AD.
From 16 standing columns, which are a few meters away from the Roman Theatre, only four remained.
Read more from source: Remembering 10 Arab Historical Sites Destroyed by ‘Daesh’
The UN has warned that 167,000 people have been displaced in Syria’s northwestern Kurdish region of Afrin since Turkey launched its offensive against the enclave.
On Friday, the UN warned that the new massive influx of refugees is posing health risks to the host communities in the surrounding area and villages.
The vast majority of refugees have fled from Afrin to the towns of Tal Rifaat, Nubul and Zahraa.
According to the UN children’s fund, UNICEF, nearly 100,000 still remain in Afrin region, nearly 50,000 to 70,000 of whom are in the city of Afrin, the main population center of the region.
In Nubul and Zahraa, people are sheltered in collective shelters in schools, mosques or stables with the lowest level of access to health services, UNICEF said.
The nearest medical facility is an insufficiently equipped field hospital three kilometers away. Those who need to go to a hospital in Aleppo, nearly 25 kilometers away, need to obtain special authorization.
Destruction of world heritage sites
On Thursday, Syria’s antiquities department said Turkish airstrikes against the area have damaged the ancient Christian heritage site of Brad south of Afrin.
The world’s digital heritage is in danger, with serious gaps in in its protection, particularly during times of war or conflict.
The concept of destroying cultural assets isn’t new. Throughout history, warfare has damaged and destroyed assets vital to a nation’s cultural heritage and to its national identity. What’s new is that these artefacts are now digital, and becoming more so.
The physical destruction of archives, monuments, artwork and other cultural assets can be a by-product or a specific tactic of war. And while immediate physical damage is often very clear, the damage done to a nation’s identity—its history and cultural memory—can be irreparable.
While these attacks are easily seen, attacks on digital cultural heritage—the stories, the websites, the histories, the digital evidence of a nation—are less obvious, and the objects arguably more vulnerable. And it may not occur only during a time of obvious physical conflict, but during nation state against nation state conflict in cyberspace.
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.
In a world before ISIS, Palmyra was something of a sanctuary poised deep inside the south-central desert of Syria.
PALMYRA, Syria – The Syrian city of Palmyra stood for decades as a shining example of ancient civilization, a caravan stop on the Silk Road that served as the capital of Queen Zenobia’s empire.
The city’s meticulously preserved Greco-Roman ruins landed it UNESCO World Heritage Site status, making it a top tourist attraction in the Middle East and a mecca for archaeologists and historians.
Now the city once known for its priceless ancient art and artifacts has been ravaged by ISIS, the terror group that has defiantly destroyed the cultural heritage of the lands they occupy.
Under the centuries-old archways in an alley in Syria’s famed Aleppo Old City, a small glimpse of the once-bustling market reemerged on Thursday, despite the ravages of war.
Restoration work has brought a small part of the famed Old City’s market back to life, and the restored arches glowed in purple lighting as traders once again plied wares including the city’s famous olive oil soap.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Old City of Aleppo has been devastated by the war that began with anti-government protests in March 2011.
For four years, the Old City was a front line in the battle between rebels and government forces, who recaptured the city in full in December 2016.
In the recorded history of mankind, many civilizations have come to exist, thriving for generations before falling into decay and eventually dying out. While some have been forgotten over time, others are remembered more vividly even today, thanks to the practice of extensive record keeping which commenced with the invention of writing on cuneiform tablets in ancient Mesopotamia, papyrus in Egypt and culminating in the introduction of paper by the Chinese.
Multiple aspects of civilizational history, be it political, social, religious or intellectual came to be recorded widely as various civilizations progressed. The quest for search of ancient materials and records continues even in current times for the purpose of study by scholars across the world in order to try and improve man’s understanding of the world inherited from past generations.