Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Syria: The Destruction Project

Exterior, Krak des Chevaliers
 The deaths of 20,000 Syrian people in the last 17 months is a travesty and horror.

Inside the wall, Krak des Chevaliers
Collateral damage in this on-going conflict has spread to historic sites and world treasures. A student published an article in the Wall Street Journal on 20 August listing places in Syria that have suffered damage, some perhaps irreversible. Photos of many of these sites have been posted on this blog. The photos here of the world treasures mentioned in the article were taken on a trip to Syria n May-June 2010. Most of these places are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Chapel, KdC
I do not have photos of all the sites described. The first place mentioned in the article is the crusader fortress, Krak des Chevaliers, near Homs, the center of early assaults by the Assad regime.

Temple of Bel, Palmyra
Beginning of the Valley of the Tombs
Next on the list is Palmyra in the eastern desert oasis of Syria.  Three places mentioned are the Temple of Bel, the colonnaded avenue, and the Valley of the Tombs.

Colonnaded Avenue, Palmyra

 The Roman city of Apamea, near Hama, has also suffered damage and the wholesale looting of the incredible mosaics lovingly repaired and kept for safe keeping for decades. Hama suffered bombing by Assad's father in 1982 when tens of thousands of citizens were killed and the Old City destroyed. It was also brutally shelled in the current fighting.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Syria is a two thousand year construction project

Entrance to the Citadel
View of the Citadel entrance from the plaza
The news from Syria is disturbing on all levels. For thoughtful commentary, Jonathan Landis' blog is reliable.  Yesterday, the New York Times Arts section had a piece on the concern conservators have for the survival/destruction of ancient artifacts and places. Buildings go up, buildings are destroyed, buildings await completion: Syrian built environments are in a continuous state of flux.

Courtyard of Abraham's Mosque within the Citadel grounds
 Aleppo and Damascus are two of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world (Aleppo claims it is; Damascus also makes that claim. They also each claim the greatest population).  Along with the NYT article on the damage to the Citadel in Aleppo, there is also a video of government forces within the Citadel. Compare the images in the video with those here.

 The Citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, meaning it belongs to the people of the world. These are some photos we took of the Citadel in May/June 2010.

View of the bathhouse dome within the Citadel grounds
 The photo on the left shows a bathhouse dome, but not the one seen on below.
The ceiling of the bathhouse dome
View from the Citadel of the grand mosque
The reception room in the Citadel

Sunday, August 12, 2012

And in the meantime.....

The news from the Olympic Games, local election issues, summertime, blogging at Blog. Unfortunately, life is not so pleasant for others: atrocities still continue in Syria, the vulnerable still remain vulnerable, and Roma (most recently in the news, those in France) and immigrants/migrant workers the world over (in this case, those in Greece) still suffer abuse at the hands of the small-minded. The rise of nationalism and fascist inclinations should be a cause for concern. Read Thinking the Twentieth Century by Tony Judt and Timothy Snyder.