The Islamic State group on Tuesday August 25 2015 published images showing the destruction of the Baal Shamin temple in Syria’s Palmyra, after international condemnation of the act.
The series of images showed militants placing barrels and small containers, presumably containing explosives, into the temple, as well as similar containers placed on parts of its columns.
The Temple of Baalshamin was an ancient temple in the city of Palmyra, Syria, dedicated to the Canaanite deity Baalshamin. The temple’s earliest phase dates to the late 2nd century BC. It was rebuilt in 131 AD, while the altar before the temple is dated to 115 AD. With the advent of Christianity in the 5th century AD, the temple was converted to a church. Uncovered by Swiss archaeologists in 1954–56, the temple was one of the most complete ancient structures in Palmyra.
In 1980, the structure was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. As UNESCO puts it, “the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.”
The head of the UN’s cultural watchdog, Irina Bokova, called the act a “new war crime and an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity.”
Palmyra ancient ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site and IS’s capture of the town on May 21 raised concerns the group would lay waste to it as it has done with heritage sites under its control elsewhere.
A historic section of the capital of Yemen, Sana’a, which has recently become a stronghold for Houthi rebels was bombed on May 11th by a coalition of Saudi-led Arab states. The World Heritage site that has been inhabited for more than two Milena contains over 6,000 houses, hammams, and mosques built before the eleventh century, and was recently restored by UNESCO in the 1980s. It is one of the four World Heritage sites in Yemen and have been on the UNESCO tentative list for 13 years.
The coalition also carried out several airstrikes in Saa’dah, partially destroying Al-Hadi Mosque, the oldest Islamic learning center in the center of the Arabian Peninsula at 1,100 years old, and on the city of Barakish. “I condemn these destruction and I call on all parties to keep cultural heritage out of the conflict,” says UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in a statement that asked those fighting to respect international treaties, namely, the 1954 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the 1972 World Heritage Convention. “I am particularly distressed by the news concerning air strikes on heavily populated areas such as the cities of Sana’a and Saa’dah,” she continued. “In addition to causing terrible human suffering, these attacks are destroying Yemen’s unique cultural heritage, which is the repository of people’s identity, history, and memory, and an xceptional testimony to the achievements of the Islamic civilization.”
Including 3 new pictures of Maharloo (August 2015)
by Farzad Arian.
“Maharloo” or “Pink lake”, located 27 kilometers southeast of Shiraz, Iran, and considered as a beautiful salt lake that was flourishing with abundance volume of water just a few years ago has now have completely dried up and turned into a vast salt desert. Experts contribute this situation to the plan-less use of underground water resources and un-regulated building of dams over the rivers that use to end in the lake. Unfortunately, Maharloo is only one of the last additions to a long list of rivers and lakes that have died or are dying due to such careless exercises.
Maharloo, photographed in 2011
Maharloo, August 2015