Requiem for History: Rare Look at What ISIS Destroyed in Iraq

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Last week, something truly terrible happened. The ancient, 13th century B.C. Assyrian city of Nimrud, a cornerstone of human history, was systematically destroyed by the thugs of ISIS.

As a kid I always wanted to be Indiana Jones or Marco Polo. As a grown up, I take particular pleasure in exploring archeological sites which provide insight into history and the paths that the human race has taken. I visited the biblical metropolis of Nimrud in 2011 and it was palpably magical—made even more so because so few people were ever able visit the site—first due to Saddam Hussein’s government and then due to war.

And now, it’s gone.

The pictures below are all what once was, and what has now, reportedly been razed to the ground.

Related: The Afghan City That Time Has Forgotten

Here’s a look back at an integral chapter in human history. Looking at these photographs should remind us of the Buddhas of Bamiyan that were razed by the Taliban in a war on culture, history, knowledge and innocent people. Sadly, this is a page out of the same playbook written by ignorant, violent criminals.

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The Ziggurat of Nimrud which is said to have been razed. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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Inside the palace of Nimrud, with winged sentinels like they have inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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A side view… (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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A painted relief on the palace walls. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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A sentry. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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The intricate details of the sentry. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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Carvings from 13th Century BC. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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The main hall of the palace. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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Standing with the sentry. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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Entry into a tomb. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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Inside the tomb there was a ransacked burial plot. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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A guard standing outside a well where - after criminals were beheaded - the heads were thrown in. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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Learning more about the site. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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More from the dig. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

After Nimrud, my tour stopped at a monastery in the hills outside of Mosul, where many Christian families lived - having taken refuge during the Iraq War. While I was there, a teenage girl showed me the caves where monks would sleep and pray over a thousand years ago. The monastery has reportedly been taken over by ISIS - and the people have presumably fled.. or been killed. Here’s a look at once was:

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A monastery in the hills outside of Mosul that has now been taken over by ISIS. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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The monastery close up. (Photo: Paula Froelich)

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