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War, by its very nature, is a destructive force. And the magnificence of an ancient building, one whose history was forged over centuries, can vanish with the push of a button or the squeeze of a trigger. This list highlights 10 historically and culturally significant sites lost to the ravages of war, some as recently as 2013.


10、Ferhat Pasha Mosque



Photo credit: Alfons Schreiner

攝影:Alfons Schreiner

During the Bosnian War of the ’90s, Banja Luka, Bosnia’s second-largest city, saw heavy fighting. One of the most remarkable structures in the city was the Ferhat Pasha Mosque, an exceptional example of 16th-century Islamic and Ottoman architecture.


9、Christ Church Greyfriars



Photo credit: Gryffindor/Wikimedia





Photo credit: Bernard Gagnon

圖片出處:Bernard Gagnon

Apamea, the ancient “Treasure City,” sits on the bank of Syria’s Orontes River. It was once home to the kings of the Seleucid Empire, and it later housed the Romans, growing to a population of 500,000.


More than a millennium later, it rose again, now as a base during the Crusades. Its magnificent paved streets, beautiful mosaics, and bright white columns carved with intricate designs were a sight to behold. Its long history made it one of the Middle East’s most important archaeological sites.


During the current conflict in Syria, Apamea has been damaged to such an extent that many historians believe it can never be restored. Not only has Apamea been devastated by bombing, there have also been those who have taken advantage of the chaos by ransacking the ancient city, looting its treasures. The site now lies ravaged, its columns broken and its mosaics smashed.


7、The Old Summer Palace




Photo credit: Yiyuan Homes

圖片來源:Yiyuan Homes

The Old Summer Palace, also known as Yuan Ming Yuan, was a complex of gardens and buildings in Beijing constructed in the 18th century. The palace itself served as a base of operations for Qing Dynasty emperors to live and handle government affairs, while its grounds were filled with examples of beautiful architecture, which included magnificent temples, pavilions, and bridges adorned with ornate Chinese designs. The surrounding gardens were equally impressive, with lush green lawns and exotic flowers growing around serene ponds and rivers.


In 1860, at the climax of the First Opium War, a French and British expeditionary force occupied Beijing and discovered the palace. Although the Emperor had fled, most of the palace’s contents had been left behind. Meeting little resistance, the troops looted the complex of its riches. The British High Commissioner to China, Lord Elgin, then ordered the destruction of the palace in retaliation for the torture of British and Indian troops.


Although its magnificent buildings are now lost forever, the site of The Old Summer Palace still attracts thousands of visitors each year.


6、Ancient Shrines And Mausoleums


5、The Porcelain Tower Of Nanjing



Standing almost 80 meters (260 ft) tall, the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing must have been an amazing sight. Hung with 140 lamps, its eight sides were beautifully decorated with images of the Buddha, and its nine interior levels boasted a vast array of religious carvings and statues. It is said that on a sunny day, light would reflect off the sides of the tower and give it an ethereal glow.


In 1801, lightning struck the tower, causing three sections to collapse. However, it would be almost 50 years before the Porcelain Tower met its ultimate fate.


In 1850, civil war broke out in southern China, and the conflict soon spread to Nanjing. Concerned that the enemy could use it as a lookout point, rebel forces occupying the surrounding area decided to demolish the tower. Its crumbling remains were left where they fell, the porcelain bricks that once shone so magnificently reduced to a depressing pile of scorched rubble.


The remains of the tower were later repurposed for use in the construction of other buildings, although some sections were saved and are now on display in the Nanjing Museum. On a positive note, in 2010, a Chinese businessman donated a staggering one billion Yuan to the Nanjing government to fund the reconstruction of the tower. Although the original is now lost forever, it is hoped that the new building will capture some of the majesty of the Porcelain Tower.


4、The Great Mosque Of Aleppo



Photo credit: Guillaume Piolle
Aleppo’s Great Mosque is located within the city’s historic Al-Jalloum district. The largest of its kind in the area, the mosque supposedly houses the remains of Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. Because of its historical importance, the complex is recognized as being a UNESCO World Heritage site.


3、Yongmyong Temple
North Korea



Pyongyang’s Yongmyong Buddhist temple was built over 1,500 years ago and was named for an ancient king, Dongmyeong of Goguryeo. According to legend, a chambermaid of the queen was struck by lightning and shortly after gave birth to Dongmyeong. The king, fearful of this supernatural event, threw the young child into a pigsty. The child survived, and the king, taking this as an act of divine intervention, changed his mind and ordered the queen to raise the boy.


Famed for its beautiful scenery and gardens filled with cherry trees, the temple was a popular tourist attraction in its day. It underwent several alterations throughout its life, including extensive restoration work carried out in 1920.


The US destroyed the Yongmyong Temple in a carpet bombing attack during the Korean War. One area of the temple, the Pubyok pavilion, was rebuilt shortly after the war and is now registered as a national treasure of North Korea.


1、 Royal Opera House



Designed by renowned British architect Edward Barry and completed in 1866 following four years of construction, the Royal Opera House once stood proudly on the corner of Strada Reale in the historic city of Valletta. Now covered in restaurants and boutiques, Strada Reale shows little evidence that it once played host to one of Malta’s most magnificent examples of neo-classical architecture. Only a few columns and a terrace now remain as evidence of its existence.

由著名的英國建筑學家巴里設計,經歷四年建設,1866年完工的皇家大劇院曾一度驕傲地矗立在歷史名城瓦萊塔的strada街角。現在strada reale街上遍布著餐館和服裝店,幾乎看不出馬耳他最華麗的新古典主義建筑典范的一點痕跡。只有留下的少數廊柱和一段樓梯還顯示著當年的古跡。

The Royal Opera House had quite a turbulent history. On May 25, 1873, a fire broke out inside the building and destroyed much of its extravagantly designed interior. Reconstruction work was carried out almost immediately, and the theatre reopened its doors four years later to Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. But in the following century, the Royal Opera House became an unsuspecting victim of the German Luftwaffe. A single air raid on April 7, 1942 left the magnificent building in ruins.