What are The Historical Treasures Destroyed in The Middle East?

Monuments, temples, mosques, and towers are finally lost after being protected for hundreds of years. A true archaeological disaster that has taken a lot of valuable information from our history. In this time we will talk about some of those valuable treasures that are completely lost.

Nimrud was the first Assyrian capital, founded 3,200 years ago. The Assyrian Empire stretched from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea and Nimrud’s rich decoration reflected the empire’s power and wealth. The King’s palace was adorned with ivory and stone reliefs, which showed the king hunting, fighting and taking part in religious rituals. The site was excavated beginning in the 1840s by British archaeologists, who sent dozens of its massive stone sculptures to museums around the world, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum in London. But a large number of relics and statues still remained in their original locations when in 2015, the group destroyed the city using a combination of explosives and bulldozers. UNESCO condemned the attack as a “crime.” The site itself is massive: An earthen wall surrounds 890 acres. The Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities says they bulldozed parts of the site, but the extent of the damage isn’t yet clear. Some of the city was never uncovered and remains underground, hopefully protected and preserved for future generations. They are now considered to be the wealthiest organization in the world, with $2.2 billion in assets. While bank robberies have recently gained the group millions, they have also raked in massive profits from the billion-dollar black market in ancient artifacts.

Assyrian Lion Statues
Originally from the Arslan Tash archaeological site near Aleppo in Syria, they’d been moved to Raqqa city center in the 1980s. They were meant as protective spirits. The statues date to the 8th century and were seated at the entrance gate of Arslan Tash, which was conquered by the Assyrians in 9th century BC. You can see how they once stood as the entrance to the gardens and how they were maliciously destroyed and turned into rubble.
Known damage: Destroyed by bulldozer

The winged bulls at Nineveh
Ancient Assyria was one of the first true empires, expanding aggressively across the Middle East and controlling a vast stretch of the ancient world between 900 and 600 B.C. At one point, Nineveh was the largest city in the world. The huge statues of winged bulls with human heads at the gates of Assyrian palaces are among the most iconic symbols of ancient Mesopotamia. Known as lamassu, these guarded a principal gateway to the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh for nearly 3000 years until its face was blasted away with a power drill. Nineveh was one of the most important cultural centers in the ancient world and played a huge role in developing human civilization. While there are other lamassu in museums around the world it is extremely rare to see them in their original location where they have existed for thousands of years.

Mosque of The Prophet Younis (Jonah’s Tomb)
Located in Mosul, Iraq, near the walls of Nineveh, the Mosque of the Prophet Yunus was dedicated to the biblical figure Jonah, considered a prophet by many Muslims. It is believed to be the burial place of the prophet Jonah, who was swallowed by a whale in stories from both the Bible and the Koran. It was built on an archaeological site dating back to the 8th century BC and a layer cake of history, built on top of a Christian church that in turn had been built on one of the two mounds that made up the Assyrian city of Nineveh. It attracted religious pilgrims from multiple faiths around the world. But the group adheres to an extreme interpretation of Islam that sees veneration of prophets like Jonah as forbidden. On July 24, 2015, fighters evacuated the mosque and demolished it with explosives.

Mosul Library and Museum
Reports of looting at Mosul’s libraries and universities began to surface almost as soon as they occupied the city last summer. Centuries-old manuscripts were stolen, and thousands of books disappeared into the shadowy international art market. Mosul University’s library was burned in December 2014. In late February 2015, the campaign escalated and  Mosul’s central public library was rigged with explosives and razed, together with thousands of manuscripts and instruments used by Arab scientists.
Around the same time, they released a video showing fighters rampaging through the Mosul Museum, toppling statues and smashing others with hammers. The Mosul Museum is Iraq’s 2nd largest museum after the Iraq museum and houses relics from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hatra.