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This Is The Monumental Arch ISIS Blew Up In Palmyra

ISIS has been bombing parts of the ancient ruins using explosives ever since it took control of the site earlier this year.

Posted on October 5, 2015, at 8:33 a.m. ET

This is "Arch of Triumph," one of the most famous monuments in the 2,000-year-old city of Palmyra, which local officials in Syria say was blown up by ISIS on Sunday.

Freer Gallery of Art | Smithsonian Institution Libraries

The monumental arch — one of the most treasured examples of Palmyrene art among several other temples, cemeteries, and statues — is part of a Unesco World Heritage site.

Via Freer Gallery of Art | Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Palmyra, which was passed from one empire to another over the last two millennia, was captured by ISIS earlier this year and has since remained under its control. Ever since, the militant group has been bombing parts of the ruins using explosives and threatening to demolish what it describes as idolatrous statues as part of their efforts to destroy all evidence of pre-Islamic civilization in Syria.

In August, ISIS brutally killed a renowned Syrian antiquities expert and hung his body from ancient Roman columns.

In the late 1800s, Félix Bonfils, a French photographer traveled through the Middle East and arrived at Palmyra. The images here are from his book, Photographs of Palmyra, circa 1867–1876, now part of the collection at Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

The arch connects the eastern and central sections of the colonnade, and used to be one of the most popular sites at Palmyra, which was once a stop in the Syrian desert for travelers and later became a bustling city under the Roman empire.

Via Freer Gallery of Art | Smithsonian Institution Libraries

The monumental arch at Palmyra, also known as the Triumphal Arch of Septimius Severus, was built by the Roman emperor in the third century.

Via Freer Gallery of Art | Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Robert Wood, a British traveler and classical scholar, sketched the city of Palmyra, including the monumental arch, in a book in 1753.

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