Palmyra’s Baalshamin temple ‘blown up by IS’
Islamic State militants have destroyed Palmyra’s ancient temple of Baalshamin, Syrian officials and activists say.
Syria’s head of antiquities was quoted as saying the temple was blown up on Sunday. The UK -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that it happened a month ago.
IS took control of Palmyra in May, sparking fears for the site.
It is considered one of the ancient world’s most important cultural centres.
The ancient city, which is a Unesco World Heritage site, is famed for its well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins, and the Baalshamin temple was built nearly 2,000 years ago.
The Islamic State group has destroyed several ancient sites in Iraq. The militants believe any shrines or statues implying the existence of another deity are sacrilege and idolatry, and should be destroyed.
The Baalshamin temple is dedicated to the Phoenician god of storms and fertilising rains, and was almost completely intact.Unesco World Heritage Site, known as Pearl of the Desert
Site contains monumental ruins of great city, once one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world from the 1st and 2nd Centuries
Its art and architecture combines Greco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences
More than 150,000 tourists visited Palmyra every year before Syrian conflict
Site boasts a number of monumental projects, over 1,000 columns, and a formidable necropolis of over 500 tombs