Take a good hard look because all this is about to be destroyed!
Known as the ‘Venice of the Sands’, the ancient city of Palmyra dates back to at least the second millennium BCE, it’s even mentioned in the Bible & the Talmud.
It was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1980.
Between the first & third century CE the city became very wealthy & prosperous as a leading trading centre after caravan traders from across Syria & the Roman & Persian empires used it as a station for their caravans. It was an important stop on the Silk Road.
Thanks to the prosperous economy the Palmyrenes were able to construct major projects including Hadrian’s Gate (first picture, it was visited by the Roman emperor Hadrian in 129 CE), the Roman theatre (third picture), the temple of Ba’al (fifth picture), & other important temples & monuments.
At its peak the city had over 200,000 inhabitants making it one of the largest cities of its time. The majority of its inhabitants were Arameans, Arabs, & Amorites with Greek, Roman, & Jewish minorities. The main languages spoken were Aramaic & Greek in the Palmyrene alphabet.
Palmyra was at one point one of the greatest civilizations in the world. It’s an immensely important cultural & historical site not just for Syrians but for humanity as a whole.
“Palmyra is an archaeological global city & the international community has a responsibility to keep its artefacts in Palmyra where it belongs & defend it against ISIS” - Maamnoun Abdulkarim, director-general of the Syrian directorate of antiquities & museums
The city was seized by ISIS on May 20th 2015, they have pledged to destroy the city & all its historical sites & heritage. Unless the city is quickly retaken from ISIS it will be destroyed just like the Assyrian/Mesopotamian/Babylonian artefacts & ancient sites in Iraq!
“Damage to the heritage of a country is damage to the soul of its people and its identity” - Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO
Another amazing city in the heart of Mexico whose beautify need only be seen to understand why it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city of Guanajuato is truly one of a kind in Mexico both in history and the many events that it continues to hold throughout the year. The city even had the title of the Capital of Mexico during revolutionary times and is the birthplace of one of the most respected Latin American artist, Diego Rivera. The city also continues to play host to the “Cervantino” a festival held every fall that truly brings the city to life with a combination of music, dance and theater performances.
The city is truly a sight to behold, overlooking the area from the statue of Pipila offers a view unlike any other as you watch the vast array of colors that cover every home and building within the city. The view as well provides a glimpse at the colonial design from its narrow and paved streets to its amazing architecture that has remained so well preserved and continue to highlight it as a one of a kind in Mexico. One of the most recommend cities in Mexico that offers a truly unique experience.
This is Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Osogbo. The place is a a must visit for anyone interested in Nigerian art and culture. You can read more about here on the UNESCO website here
Known as the Dead Cities, or Ancient Villages of Northern Syria, there is an incredible collection of 700 abandoned settlements that lay in the Al-Bara region. Ranging from single monuments to almost-complete villages, these ghostly sites date back before the fifth century CE. They are situated in an area known as Belus Massif, and contain numerous remains of Christian Byzantine architecture.
The ruins are believed to have been abandoned between the 8th and 10th century, and include churches, public houses, dwellings, and even wine presses. Restorative work is currently taking place on the sites, and the local inhabitants are welcoming to visitors.
The Dead Cities, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are believed to have flourished on the major trade routes of the Byzantine Empire, where they were established. But when the Arabs conquered, they lost the majority of their business, and many inhabitants moved to areas of increasing urbanization. As a result, the Dead Cities have an “eerie” feel to them – as if the inhabitants simply vanished without trace.