Earthquakes destroyed or damaged ancient monuments that had previously withstood wars and disasters.
A series of devastating earthquakes and aftershocks in Turkey and Syria, which have killed more than 5,000 people, have also destroyed or damaged several historical monuments of the ancient region that have survived centuries of wars and natural disasters.
The parts of Syria affected by the earthquakes are also suffering from a 12-year-long war that has also devastated some of the iconic buildings for which the country, among the cradles of human civilization, has long been known.
Experts fear the quakes could exacerbate the loss of cultural heritage in the region – the Turkish government said more than 5,600 buildings were destroyed in the country alone.
Here are some of the key monuments damaged in the earthquakes:
Gaziantep Castle, Gaziantep
Known locally as Gaziantep Kalesi, the second-century AD castle in the center of the Turkish city of Gaziantep has been partially destroyed, with many walls and watchtowers flattened and other parts damaged.
“Some of the bastions in the eastern, southern and southeastern parts of the historic Gaziantep Castle in the central Sahinbey district were destroyed in the earthquake, with debris scattered on the road,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported Monday.
The building was initially used as an observation post. The Romans then developed it into a real castle. The monument was a popular tourist attraction — its long and rich history is a testament to the city’s ancient roots and the countless waves of visitors and conquerors that have attracted this part of Turkey for centuries.
The castle has been renovated several times, the last time in the early 2000s.
Sirvan Mosque, Gaziantep
Near Gaziantep Castle, this 17th-century mosque also suffered serious damage. Its eastern wall and dome have partially collapsed, Anadolia reports.
The mosque, one of the oldest in Gaziantep, has long stood tall not only as a religious building, but also as an architectural marvel. Unlike most minarets in mosques, the towers of the Sirvani mosque have two balconies.
Aleppo Citadel, Aleppo
It is one of the oldest existing castles in the world, but the earthquake did not escape unscathed.
“Parts of an Ottoman mill inside the citadel” in Aleppo collapsed, while “parts of the northeastern defensive walls cracked and fell,” according to a statement from Syria’s General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums.
Parts of the minaret dome of the Ayyubid mosque inside the citadel fell off, while the entrance to the fortress was damaged, “including the entrance to the Mamluk tower,” the government agency added.
Yeni Mosque, Malatya
The 17th-century mosque in the ancient city of Malatya in Turkey’s Eastern Anatolia region has suffered multiple earthquakes. It was destroyed in an earthquake in 1894, but was then rebuilt. She died again in the 1964 earthquake.
On Monday, many of the monument’s walls collapsed, according to Anatolia, adding the latest chapter to the mosque’s fight for survival.