21:19 GMT +323 March 2017
    A file picture taken on March 14, 2014 shows Syrian citizens walking in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus. Islamic State (IS) group jihadists, who boast of having destroyed ancient sites in Iraq, threatened the ancient jewel of Palmyra, a UNESCO heritage site in the Syrian desert, on May 14, 2015

    Why is the Ancient Syrian Palmyra so Important for Millions of Russians?

    © AFP 2017/ JOSEPH EID
    Get short URL

    The destruction of the 2,000-year-old Roman Triumphant Arch in Palmyra by Islamic State insurgents has triggered a wave of deep sorrow in Russia and stirred a heated debate among Russian Facebook users.

    Syria's Palmyra — the magnificent ruins of a great city, once one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world — is especially close to hearts of millions of Russians it turns out.

    On October 5, 2015 media outlets reported that the 2,000 year-old Roman Arch of Triumph in the ancient city of Palmyra was blown up by ISIL militants.

    Located in the Syrian desert, north east of Damascus, Palmyra has always been considered a magnificent and unique historical site which stood at the crossroads of several civilizations. The architecture of the once great city contained elements of Greek, Roman and Persian styles.

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) deplored the destruction of the famous Arch of Triumph by ISIL terrorists.

    "Palmyra symbolizes everything that extremists abhor; cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, the encounter of different peoples in this center of trading between Europe and Asia," Director-General of the UNESCO Irina Bokova said as quoted by the organization's official site.

    Interestingly, ISIL's barbarous act immediately stirred a wave a deep sorrow among thousands of Russian social network users.

    One of the posts dedicated to the issue was shared on Facebook and immediately went viral. For instance, Facebook user Galyna Gavrylenko received thousands of likes and shares when she attached a photo of the cover of an old Russian history school book for 5th graders depicting the famous Palmyra Arch of Triumph.

    "Those who studied history using this textbook raise your hands," Galyna wrote, adding that the news of Palmyra's destruction has obviously left many in Russia with a heavy heart. 

    Новость: "Боевики ИГИЛ взорвали триумфальную арку в Пальмире". Есть эмоциональный отклик?А если так:Поднимите руку те,…

    Posted by Galyna Gavrylenko on Monday, 5 October 2015

    Palmyra had long attracted the attention of Russian historians. In 1881-1882 Russian researcher Semyon Abamelek-Lazarev went on an expedition to the Syrian desert. He found an extraordinary historical document, a list of ancient customs rules, which shed light on the history of ancient trade and peaceful coexistence of Western and Eastern cultures in Palmyra.

    According to UNESCO, the Arch of Triumph was erected by Septimius Severus between 193 and 211 AD. It was located between the Great Colonnade and the Temple of Bel, which was also destroyed this year by Islamic State jihadists.


    Does the West Really Want to See Islamist Radicals Take Damascus?
    Syrian Military Source Dismisses Media Reports Russia Struck Palmyra
    What is Russia's Key Interest in Syria?
    Daesh, historians, civilization, destruction, Jihadists, heritage, Facebook, The Syrian war, UNESCO, Palmyra, Syria, Russia
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik
    • Сomment

    All comments

    • avatar
      The Roman Triumphant Arch in Palmyra is important to the whole world and more so to some than others . . .

      However, it is less than disingenuous for Russian media to claim some 'special' meaning or status for it to the Russian peoples.

      The TRUTH is that the Russian 'state controlled and dominated media' is seeking ways to influence the population to 'get behind' Putin's reckless and deceptive 'war'. Yes, media crap like this is intended to bolster the public's support as the costs to the population will be great as will the lives lost and increased terrorist activities within Russia's borders that will most certainly follow.

      For a regional power to stretch so thin when the economy is tanking is morally criminal. But then so too is the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians at the hands of those carrying Putin's weapons!

      But hey! Be PROUD the numbers pale in comparison to the tens of millions murdered by Stalin throughout his reign! What will Putin's numbers be? Only after his death or demise will the world truly know . . .
    • Gregoire Trezin reply tormpblue(Show commentHide comment)
      rmpblue, Wow, that was quite a nonsensical rant. The one who is disingenuous is you. Either that or you just misinformed about history all together. Let's work from back to front, shall we.
      So, Putin has killed untold numbers of how many people? And how does the mendacious western FREE press does not know this, nor just blatantly lie about it, ever?
      So it's Putin weapons killing "hundreds of thousands" of civilians? Not Obama's knifes who cut off heads, not Obama's explosives that rigs precious historical sites to blow them up later? Not Obama's planes who actually drop food and weapons to the headchoppers? Disingenuous indeed.
      Russia's state controlled media might be even less state controlled and anything the west rolls out. In fact, countries get destroyed, children burned to cinders, hospitals bombed just by word of your special free press.
      But. Russians should not shed a tear for YOUR (?) ancient antiques because..why? It's inappropriate because they should know it's propaganda? The west is REWRITING history RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT to accept Hitler as one of the good guys, in favor for the nazis in the Ukraine.
      You're a funny guy. Totally out of touch and full of hate against anything that might disturbed your fantastical fairy world called The West.
      Everything you write after this will be taken with a grain of salt and will be answered at your level.
    Show new comments (0)