luckytigerfreespins|Feature: Ancient Syrian city of Bosra struggles to preserve precious heritage

super2024-06-24 23:07:0213Academia

This photo taken on June 11luckytigerfreespins, 2024 shows the ruins of the ancient city of Bosra, southern Syria. The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.(Photo by Hummam Sheikh Ali/Xinhua)

by Hummam Sheikh Ali

BOSRA, Syria, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.

Enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Bosra's history dates back to 1500 BC, with Nabateans, Romans, Byzantines, and Islamic Caliphates all leaving their mark. Today, the city boasts a well-preserved Roman theater, a panoramic citadel, and a unique mosque, alongside temples, baths, and ancient city walls.

During Roman rule in the second century AD, Bosra rose to prominence as the regional capital. Alaa Al-Salah, director of the Bosra Archaeological Site, described a meticulously planned city mirroring Rome itself, complete with a grid layout, roads, theaters, a hippodrome, and baths.

But Syria's brutal war, which ravaged countless cultural treasures, left its mark on Bosra. Situated in the heart of the southern province of Daraa, the birthplace of the conflict, Bosra became a battleground. In 2012, UNESCO, recognizing the ongoing risk, placed Bosra on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

This designation stipulates the Syrian government to put in more effort to preserve the precious archaeological site and prolonged endangerment can lead to removal from the World Heritage Sites.

Since 2019, with the area secured, restoration efforts have begun. Al-Salah, who has overseen the site for 25 years, emphasized the urgency. "Being on the endangered list for too long can lead to delisting," he said, lamenting the potential loss of such a valuable treasure.

Syria's antique authorities, hamstrung by limited resources and expertise, have prioritized the theater and the castle for restoration. While progress has been made, vast swathes of Bosra remain in ruin, a stark reminder of the conflict's brutality.

"Restoring the city requires greater effort and more assistance, which we have not received," said Al-Salah, adding their efforts can only take the restoration project so far.

He also pleaded for greater international cooperation, particularly for tasks requiring heavy machinery and advanced techniques.

Aside from the lack of financial resources, one of the main challenges was restrictions on international cooperation due to sanctions imposed by the United States and its Western allies, according to Al-Salah.

The sanctions have crippled the cultural sector and restoration efforts, Al-Salah said, adding that "restrictions on foreign missions and organizations further hinder progress."

This photo taken on June 11, 2024 shows a Roman theater in the ancient city of Bosra, southern Syria. The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.

(Photo by Hummam Sheikh Ali/Xinhua)

Alaa Al-Salah, director of the Bosra Archaeological Site, speaks in the ruins of the ancient city of Bosra, southern Syria, June 11, 2024. The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.

(Photo by Monsef Memari/Xinhua)

This photo taken on June 11, 2024 shows a Roman theater in the ancient city of Bosra, southern Syria. The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.

(Photo by Hummam Sheikh Ali/Xinhua)

This photo taken on June 11, 2024 shows a Roman theater in the ancient city of Bosra, southern Syria. The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.

(Photo by Monsef Memari/Xinhua)

Alaa Al-Salah, director of the Bosra Archaeological Site, introduces a Roman theater in the ancient city of Bosra, southern Syria, June 11, 2024. The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.

(Photo by Monsef Memari/Xinhua)

This photo taken on June 11, 2024 shows a Roman theater in the ancient city of Bosra, southern Syria. The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.

(Photo by Hummam Sheikh Ali/Xinhua)

This photo taken on June 11, 2024 shows the ruins of the ancient city of Bosra, southern Syria. The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.

(Photo by Monsef Memari/Xinhua)

This photo taken on June 11, 2024 shows the ruins of the ancient city of Bosra, southern Syria. The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.

(Photo by Monsef Memari/Xinhua)

luckytigerfreespins|Feature: Ancient Syrian city of Bosra struggles to preserve precious heritage

This photo taken on June 11, 2024 shows a Roman theater in the ancient city of Bosra, southern Syria. The ancient city of Bosra in southern Syria, a testament to civilizations spanning millennia, is locked in a new battle -- preserving the precious heritage from the ravage of yearslong war.

(Photo by Monsef Memari/Xinhua)

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