Accessibility links

Ancient Palmyra Threatened By Islamic State Militants

Syrian authorities say Islamic State militants have advanced to within 2 kilometers of Palmyra, an ancient city with outstanding architectural heritage dating from the first century. The militants have caused significant damage to similar sites they have overrun in Iraq, posting videos of themselves destroying antiquities. UNESCO includes Palmyra on its list of World Heritage sites, describing it as one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world -- a crossroads for local, Persian, Greek and Roman influences.

A year ago, all was quiet at Palmyra. This picture, from March 14, 2014, shows locals with bicycles at the ancient oasis city.
1

A year ago, all was quiet at Palmyra. This picture, from March 14, 2014, shows locals with bicycles at the ancient oasis city.

The remains of the Roman theatre date back to the 2nd century. Until recently, it was host to the annual Palmyra Festival.
2

The remains of the Roman theatre date back to the 2nd century. Until recently, it was host to the annual Palmyra Festival.

Lebanese singer Najwa Karam performs at the opening ceremony of the Palmyra Festival in 2010.
3

Lebanese singer Najwa Karam performs at the opening ceremony of the Palmyra Festival in 2010.

More Roman ruins. Palmyra became increasingly prosperous after the Romans took control at the beginning of the 1st century.
4

More Roman ruins. Palmyra became increasingly prosperous after the Romans took control at the beginning of the 1st century.

March 2014 - A Syrian policeman stands on the sanctury of Baal, one of three pagan gods worshipped in Palmyra in the 1st century.
5

March 2014 - A Syrian policeman stands on the sanctury of Baal, one of three pagan gods worshipped in Palmyra in the 1st century.

Palmyra is believed to have been founded by King Solomon.
6

Palmyra is believed to have been founded by King Solomon.

A 2nd century limestone relief excavated in 2008 from a cemetery in Palmyra. Shapes of 13 men and women, all from the same family, are engraved on it.
7

A 2nd century limestone relief excavated in 2008 from a cemetery in Palmyra. Shapes of 13 men and women, all from the same family, are engraved on it.

From the same dig - the scene depicts two Palmyrian merchants and a child standing next to a camel.
8

From the same dig - the scene depicts two Palmyrian merchants and a child standing next to a camel.

The sun sets behind ruined columns at Palmyra, November 2010.
9

The sun sets behind ruined columns at Palmyra, November 2010.

XS
SM
MD
LG