Category: Syrian Arab Republic

Inside the medieval castle that survived a 21st century war; Tom Westcott; Middle East Eye

Syria’s Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers, which has withstood centuries of conflict, religious division and occupation, is again welcoming visitors…

Source: Inside the medieval castle that survived a 21st century war

Recording heritage sites in danger with Wikipedia; John Lubbock; Wikimedia UK

I was scrolling Twitter when I came across a video of a fighter in Syria wasting ammunition to destroy an ancient Byzantine building. Jihadists in Idlib, Syria, destroy what’s left of a Byzantium era archaeological building in Deir Sunbul. The site is part of the “Dead Cities,” and is on UNESCO World Heritage List.… read more »

Source: Recording heritage sites in danger with Wikipedia

Renovations return bustle to part of Aleppo’s Old City; AFP

Syria – Ancient City of Aleppo

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.

Read more

Syrians Reclaim Their Heritage and Sovereignty in Bosra al-Sham; Mariam Elba; Muftah

Syria – Ancient City of Bosra

As we’ve covered previously, Syrian grassroots initiatives continue to build alternative social and civic institutions against seemingly impossible odds. Last January, Sina Zekavat of Mangal Media documented one such incredible initiative by the citizens of Bosra al-Sham, a town adjacent to Deraa in the south of the country.

The town is a UNESCO World Heritage site containing invaluable historic sites, including a large Roman amphitheater, and the Al Omari Mosque, one of the world’s oldest standing mosques.

The town was the target of the Assad regime’s bombing campaigns until the Free Syrian Army took control in March 2015.

What followed was an extraordinary refurbishing of the town’s archeological sites, and the institution of collective ownership by the people of Bosra al-Sham over their history and heritage. Zekavat writes:

Since the town’s liberation, an extensive restoration project has taken place in the archaeological site.

Read more

Scientists Shoot Stones to Study War’s Impact on Heritage Sites; Brigit Katz; Smithsonian

Syria – Ancient City of Bosra

The bullets caused hidden networks of fractures beneath the stones’ surfaces.

During wartime, precious historical sites are often caught in the crossfire. Last year, for instance, it was revealed that all six of Syria’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites—among them a Roman amphitheater, a crusader castle, and a 2,000-year-old temple—had been damaged or destroyed during the country’s civil war.

To understand the long-term effects of military conflict on ancient structures, a team of researchers in England headed to a gun range and fired .22-caliber rifles at blocks of stone, Melissa Healy reports for the Los Angeles Times. Their findings, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, suggest that gunfire can cause networks of tiny fractures beneath the surfaces of ancient stone—even when structures show few signs of external damage.

Read more

Will The Crac des Chevaliers Survive The Syrian Civil War?; Allison McNearney The Daily Beast

Syria – Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din

It was built in 1142. But the magnificent Crac de Chevaliers in Syria may not survive the war presently engulfing it.

High on a hill, almost halfway between Homs, Syria, and the Mediterranean Sea, sits a grand and formidable castle. All imposing turrets and towers, winding parapets, and massive stretches of limestone walls, the Crac des Chevaliers is the stuff of Disney-worthy dreams.

One can only imagine the historical events that this castle has witnessed from that hilltop since the Crusaders began constructing it in 1142 as their latest and greatest fortress.

But it is in the most recent of these world-shaking crises—the Syrian Civil War—that the UNESCO World Heritage Site has suffered what may be irreparable damage.

Archeologist: ‘For Russia, Syria’s cultural heritage is personal’; Oleg Yegorov; RBTH

Russian archeologist Timur Karmov, who worked on the historic sites at Palmyra after the city was liberated from ISIS control, is now leading a scientific expedition to northern Syria. He spoke to RBTH about the fight to preserve the country’s architectural monuments and why they are of particular value to Russians.

Timur Karmov, an archeologist affiliated with the Russian Cultural Ministry’s Heritage Institute, was one of the first civilians to enter Palmyra in April 2016 as part of a group of Russian cultural scientists tasked with assessing the condition of the city’s monuments following months of control by the Islamic State.

Later this month, Karmov will lead a new research expedition to northern Syria to check on the status of a UNESCO site in Aleppo Province, which is still under threat from the civil war.

RBTH: What is the purpose of this expedition?

Read more

6 out of 6: ALL of Syria’s UNESCO Heritage Sites damaged or destroyed during civil war; RT World News

Photo: Sacred Sites

The destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra has made a real impact, but in fact each and every ancient site in Syria inscribed on the World Heritage List has suffered during the five years of conflict. RT looks back at unique landmarks shattered by military action.

Source: 6 out of 6: ALL of Syria’s UNESCO Heritage Sites damaged or destroyed during civil war — RT World News