Collapse and Rebirth of Cultural Heritage

The Case of Syria and Iraq

by Lorenzo Kamel (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 174 Pages
Series: Global Politics and Security, Volume 6


Cultural heritage and illicit trafficking in the Middle East are two key topics of our time. The book sheds light on both aspects, and identifies the need to democratize cultural heritage, by giving greater control to local communities. It also investigates the link between local hotbeds of conflict and violence in countries such as Syria and Iraq, as well as war economics, transnational criminal networks and the politics of deliberate destruction and theft of cultural heritage. Finally, the chapters analyze the impact of non-violent and violent non-state actors, fragile states, forced migration, environmental degradation, as well as how local and international institutions have reacted to the dramatic events which the region and its inhabitants have experienced in recent years

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editor
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Figures
  • Foreword (Ettore Greco and Nicolò Russo Perez)
  • Introduction (Lorenzo Kamel)
  • Chapter 1: The Steep Cost of Destabilizing Iraq and Syria (Elijah J. Magnier)
  • Chapter 2: The Reconstruction and Recovery of Syrian Cultural Heritage: The Case of the Old City of Aleppo (Francesco Bandarin)
  • Chapter 3: The Italian Response to the Cultural Heritage Emergency in Iraq (Stefano de Martino)
  • Chapter 4: Space, Time and People: How the Destruction of Mosul’s Heritage Is Reshaping Its People’s Future (Omar Mohammed)
  • Chapter 5: The Role of Academia in Enabling the Illicit Antiquities Market: The Damage to Iraq’s Cultural Heritage (Abdul Salam Taha)
  • Chapter 6: Cultural Heritage as a Process of Accumulation: The ‘Paradigm of Gilgamesh’ (Lorenzo Kamel)
  • Contributors
  • Abbreviations
  • Series index


Figure 2.1: Destruction of the Old City of Aleppo, situation in November 2010 and October 2014

Figure 2.2: Damage assessment for the city of Aleppo

Figure 2.3: Estimate of the increase in damages to Aleppo’s city infrastructure from 2014 to 2017 (million US dollars)

Figure 2.4: Old City of Aleppo: damage to historic buildings

Figure 2.5: The three central areas where the damage assessment was carried out

Figure 2.6: Aerial photo of the Great Mosque after it was damaged

Figure 2.7: The destruction of the minaret of the Great Mosque, 24 April 2013

Figure 2.8: The Great Mosque of Aleppo: damage to the exterior and interior

Figure 2.9: Historic Suqs area: general damage assessment

Figure 2.10: Aleppo, the historic Suqs, before and after

Figure 2.11: Area of the Citadel: general damage assessment

Figure 2.12: Aleppo, the Citadel: the main entrance gate and the Ottoman post

Figure 2.13: The destruction of the Carlton Hotel with a tunnel bomb in May 2014

Figure 2.14: Residential districts area: general damage assessment and view

Figure 2.15: Removal of debris in the Aleppo old Suq

Figure 2.16: The Great Mosque (the stones of the minaret are currently being reordered in the courtyard of the mosque; some initial restoration work is visible in the background)

Figure 2.17: Damaged pillars in the interior of the Great Mosque (dismantling and reconstruction)

Figure 2.18: Location of the Suq al-Saqatiyya

Figure 2.19: The Suq al-Saqatiyya before and after the restoration

Figure 2.20: Citadel: Mill Tower after restoration

Figure 4.1: Traditional buildings in Old Mosul

Figure 4.2: Khan Al Gumrig, reconstruction process

Figure 4.3: Entrance of Suq Al Haddadin, Blacksmiths, 2019

Figure 4.4: Destroyed Islamic historical sites in Old Mosul: An Assessment

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Figure 4.5: Map of the main historical mosques in Old Mosul

Figure 4.6: Jamshid Mosque

Figure 4.7: Ruins of Al-Nuri Mosque, 2018

Figure 4.8: Hadbaa Minaret, 2013

Figure 4.9: Suq Al-Haddadin, 2019

Figure 4.10: Destruction of the Old Markets in Old Mosul, 2018

Figure 4.11: Khan and old markets, Old Mosul, 2018

Figure 4.12: Ruins of Sawwafa market, 2018

Figure 4.13: Ruins of Khuzam Mosque, 2019

Figure 4.14: Parts of Bab-l Saray Suq under reconstruction, 2018

Figure 4.15: Suq Al Haddadin, 2019

Figure 4.16: Map of the Suqs of Old Mosul

Figure 5.1: The Narām-Sîn Fragment

Figure 5.2: Cataloguing and publication of texts from Garšana

Figure 5.3: Copy of investigation report by Homeland Security on Rosen’s Garšana tablets

Figure 5.4: English translation of Rihani export license

Figure 5.5: Cataloguing and publication of text from Irisaĝrig


Table 4.1: List of destroyed Islamic historical sites in Old Mosul

Table 5.1: Dispersion of texts from Garšana

Ettore Greco and Nicolò Russo Perez


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2020 (June)
Cultura Heritage Syria Iraq Middle East
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 174 pp., 41 fig. b/w, 2 tables.

Biographical notes

Lorenzo Kamel (Volume editor)

Lorenzo Kamel is Associate Professor of History of the Middle East and North Africa at the University of Turin and director of IAI’s Research Studies. He taught at several universities in Europe, the US, and the Middle East, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University for two years, and a Marie Curie Experienced Researcher at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.


Title: Collapse and Rebirth of Cultural Heritage
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176 pages