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List of destroyed heritage

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List of destroyed heritage

One of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001

This is a list of destroyed heritage in history, sorted by country. The destruction may be accidental, deliberate, or due to natural disasters.


  • A pair of 6th century monumental statues known as the Buddhas of Bamiyan were dynamited by the Taliban in 2001, who had declared them heretical idols.




  • At least 43 Shia mosques, including the ornate 400-year-old Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque, and many other religious structures were destroyed by the Bahraini government during the Bahraini uprising of 2011.



Bosnia and Herzegovina

Stari Most was destroyed by Croat forces in 1993 but was later rebuilt


  • Buddhist murals at the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves were damaged by local Muslim population whose religion proscribed figurative images of sentient beings, the eyes and mouths in particular were often gouged out. Pieces of murals were also broken off for use as fertilizer by the locals.[4]
  • Muslims gouged the eyes of Buddhist murals along Silk Road caves and Kashgari recorded in his Turkic dictionary an anti-Buddhist poem/folk song.[5]
  • During the Kumul Rebellion in Xinjiang in the 1930s, Buddhist murals were deliberately vandalized by Muslims.[6]
  • More than 6,000 Tibetan monasteries were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, along with unique statues, tapestries and manuscripts.[7]


Several Orthodox monasteries were destroyed during the World War II by the Ustaše and again, by Croatian forces during the Yugoslav Wars.[8]


Damage to the Pyramid of Menkaure


  • Tikal Temple 33 was destroyed in the 1960s by archaeologists to uncover earlier phases of construction of the pyramid.




  • Following the conquest of the Old City of Jerusalem by the Arab Legion in 1948, under the Jordanian occupation, Jewish sites were systematically damaged and destroyed. In particular, all but one of the thirty-five synagogues of the Jewish Quarter were destroyed.[11]


  • Various historic buildings were demolished in the 19th and 20th centuries to make way for railways, industrial areas or other modern buildings. Examples include the Castello di Villagonia and the Real Cittadella in Sicily.


  • Destroyed Serbian heritage in Kosovo: During the unrest in Kosovo, 35 churches and monasteries were destroyed or seriously damaged. In total, 156 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries have been destroyed since June 1999. Many of the churches and monasteries dated back to the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries.



  • Parts of the World Heritage Site of Timbuktu were destroyed after the Battle of Gao in 2012, despite condemnation by UNESCO, the OIC, Mali, and France.


Strada Reale, Valletta in 1942 showing various destroyed buildings including the Royal Opera House.


The 7.8 Richter scale earthquake in 2015 demolished the heritage Dharahara situated at Kathmandu which was a main tourist attraction in Nepal. It also destroyed centuries old temples in the Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar Squares .[17][18]


Swat Valley in Pakistan has many Buddhist carvings, stupas and Jehanabad contains a Seated Buddha status.[19] Kushan era Buddhist stupas and status in Swat valley were demolished by the Taliban and after two attempts by the Taliban, the Jehanabad Buddha's face was dynamited.[20][21][22] Only the Bamiyan Buddhas were larger than the carved giant Buddha status in Swat near Mangalore which the Taliban attacked.[23] The government did nothing to safeguard the statue after the initial attempt at destroying the Buddha, which did not cause permanent harm, and when the second attack took place on the statue the feet, shoulders, and face were demolished.[24] Islamists, such as the Taliban and looters, destroyed much of Pakistan's Buddhist artifacts left over from the Buddhist Gandhara civilization especially in Swat Valley.[25] The Taliban deliberately targeted Gandhara Buddhist relics for destruction.[26] The Christian Archbishop of Lahore Lawrence John Saldanha wrote a letter to Pakistan's government denouncing the Taliban activities in Swat Valley including their destruction of Buddha statues and their attacks on Christians, Sikhs, and Hindus.[27] Gandhara Buddhist artifacts were illegally looted by smugglers.[28]


  • The walls, dome and roof of the 7th-century Al-Omari Mosque in Gaza City, Palestine, were destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in August 2014,[29] in addition to several other mosques that were completely destroyed in the assault.



  • 'Mephistopheles', figure on a St Petersburg building on Lakhtinksaya Street known as the House with Mephistopheles, smashed by a fundamentalist Orthodox group[30][31][32]

Saudi Arabia

  • Various mosques and other historic sites, especially those relating to early Islam, have been destroyed in Saudi Arabia. Apart from early Islamic sites, other buildings such as the Ajyad Fortress were also destroyed.




  • Several monuments demolished in Calatayud: the church of Convent of Dominicos of San Pedro Mártir (1856), Convent of Trinidad (1856), Church of Santiago (1863), Church of San Torcuato and Santa Lucía (1869) and Church of San Miguel (1871).[35]
  • In Zaragoza were demolished the Palace of La Aljafería (1862) and Torre Nueva (1892).[35]
  • Churches, monasteries, convents and libraries were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.[36]
  • A Virxe da Barca sanctuary, located in Muxia, was destroyed by lightning.[37]


Minaret of the Great Mosque of Aleppo, destroyed in fighting in 2013.


Over a hundred Lenin statues and Soviet icons across Ukraine were destroyed from December 2013 to February 2014.[39]

On 15 May 2015, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a bill into law that started a six months period for the removal of communist monuments (excluding World War II monuments) and the mandatory renaming of settlements with a name related to Communism.[40]

See also


  1. ^ Derriban un puente histórico al construir una autopista (Archived at WebCite)
  2. ^ "High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and the Destruction of Cultural Artifacts in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan." AAAS. December 8, 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Tibetan monks: A controlled life (Archived at WebCite)
  8. ^ Spiritual genocide, published by the Serb Orthodox Church
  9. ^ Haiti Cultural Recovery Project (Archive copy at the Wayback Machine)
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Protesters angry over destruction of ‘Mephistopheles’ in St Petersburg
  31. ^ Uproar in St. Petersburg after demon statue destroyed
  32. ^ Hundreds protest smashing of 'Mephistopheles' in St Petersburg
  33. ^ Movrin, David. 2013. Yugoslavia in 1949 and its gratiae plenum: Greek, Latin, and the Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers' Parties (Cominform). In György Karsai et al. (eds.), Classics and Communism: Greek and Latin behind the Iron Curtain, pp. 291–329. Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani, p. 319.
  34. ^ (June 28).RFE/RL Balkan ReportReindl, Donald F. 2002. Slovenia's Vanishing Castles.
  35. ^ a b
  36. ^ (Spanish) El martirio de los libros: una aproximación a la destrucción bibliográfica durante la Guerra Civil (Archived at WebCite)
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ Poroshenko signed the laws about decomunization. Ukrayinska Pravda. 15 May 2015
    Poroshenko signs laws on denouncing Communist, Nazi regimes, Interfax-Ukraine. 15 May 20
    Poroshenko: Time for Ukraine to resolutely get rid of Communist symbols, UNIAN. 17 May 2015
    Goodbye, Lenin: Ukraine moves to ban communist symbols, BBC News (14 April 2015)


  • Gaya Nuño, Juan Antonio. La arquitectura española en sus monumentos desaparecidos. Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1961
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