Lives and history at stake: Aleppo’s medieval (and ancient) sites in danger.

Salah Malkawi for The New York Times

The New York Times reports that not only are many lives at stake in Syria, but priceless elements of human history are threatened in the historic city of Aleppo. Patricia Cohen notes,

Among the significant archaeological sites endangered is the Temple of the Storm God, which dates from the third to the second millennium B.C. and which Ms. Burnham identified as one of the oldest structures in the world. Never opened to the public, the recently discovered temple and its huge carved reliefs are protected only by sandbags and a flimsy corrugated tin roof, she said. Aleppo’s labyrinthine streets reveal a microcosm of human history. Beneath the Citadel are remains of Bronze Age friezes and Roman fortresses. The entire walled Old City, with its 12th-century Great Mosque, thousands of pastel-colored medieval courtyard houses, Arab souks and 17th-century stone madrasas, an Ottoman palace and hammams, is recognized as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, the United Nations cultural arm.

Following events in Syria is not only an important humanitarian concern, but one for all students of history in more ways than one.

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About Roger L. Martinez

Assistant Professor of History University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
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