LONDON — “Nagorno” is a Russian word for “mountain,” while “Karabakh” is a word of Turkic and Persian origin meaning “black garden.” When joined by a hyphen, the two words denote the boiling point of the Caucasus: Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed enclave — one of post-Soviet Europe’s “frozen conflicts” — that doubles as a mountainous graveyard.
It’s rare to hear any positive news associated with cultural heritage and Syria these days, but there is a ray of hope.
A bearded man wearing sunglasses and a flak jacket sits on the ground beside a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a pro-Assad song plays on the radio. He lifts up the lid of a cooking pot, and a genie emerges.
On Sunday night, more than 8,000 books and manuscripts were destroyed after ISIS militants bombed Mosul’s Central Library.
Al-Sultaniyah Madrasa, established in 1223 and containing the tomb of Sultan Saladin’s son Sultan Malik al-Zaher, appears to have been destroyed. And it seems to have been military rather than sectarian destruction.
Using satellite imagery from 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014, the Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has mapped the intensity of cultural damage to cities across Syria.
“Audiences are understandably tired of the polarizing and dominant narratives of the mainstream media and political conversations,” Stephen Stapleton, co-founder of the arts non-profit Edge of Arabia, tells me on an afternoon in July.
As cultural and artistic heritage in Syria continues to face significant losses, two United States institutions have partnered with the Syrian Interim Government’s “Heritage Task Force” to share strategies for mitigating the dangers faced by museums and other sites.
The militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been destroying the artistic and religious heritage of Iraq and Syria as they continue to impose their fundamentalist Sunni doctrine on the lands they’ve occupied.
The United Nations issued a warning yesterday on possible danger to Iraqi cultural heritage sites as the insurgent army of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) continued its southward sweep of the country towards Baghdad.
Meet the organization helping Syrian artists in Lebanon traverse Beirut’s burgeoning arts scene while maintaining their identity.
Yesterday, the World Monuments Fund announced their 2014 World Monuments Watch, launching a two-year advocacy for 67 sites in 41 countries.