ISIS Bulldozes 3,000-Year-Old Major Assyrian Site in Nimrud, Iraq

Another important archeological site falls victim to jihadist militants.

ISIS militants have flattened the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, an archaeological site near the city of Mosul, using heavy military vehicles, AP reports.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Iraq announced ISIS’s latest cultural attack through its Facebook page, adding that the terror group continues to “defy the will of the world and the feelings of humanity.” The statement did not give any specific details about the damage.

Nimrud is a 3,000-year-old Assyrian site on the banks of the Tigris River, 20 miles south of Mosul, which has been under the control of ISIS since last June.

According to the Guardian, a tribal source from Mosul has explained that ISIS considers pre-Islamic heritage idolatrous.

Nimrud was built around 1250BC. In the 8th century BC, it became the capital of the powerful neo-Assyrian empire, which extended from Mesopotamia to modern-day Egypt, Turkey and Iran.

Many of its most famous surviving monuments were removed decades ago by archeologists. Some are displayed in London’s British Museum, while hundreds of precious stones and pieces of gold were moved to Baghdad. But the ancient city’s ruins remain at the northern Iraqi site.

News of its destruction come shortly after the release online of a video showing ISIS militants destroying a number of Assyrian sculptures at the Nineveh Museum in Mosul, using hammers, power tools, and pickaxes (see ISIS Militants Storm Museum and Smash 3,000 Year Old Assyrian Sculptures on Video, The Metropolitan Museum and Others Respond to ISIS Destruction of Assyrian Sculptures, and Did ISIS Smash Fake Sculptures in Mosul? Experts Say Many of Them Were Replicas).

In response to the attack, last Saturday the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad re-opened for the first time in 12 years (see Baghdad’s National Museum of Iraq Re-Opens In Response to ISIS’s Destruction of Statues in Mosul).

“They are trying, with their barbarism and arrogance, to destroy the inheritance of humanity, the inheritance of Iraqi people and their civilization, [the] same way they destroyed humans,” Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s Prime Minister, said during the museum’s opening, according to CNN. “I want to send a clear message from here in Baghdad, that we will preserve this human civilization and its inheritance, and we will pursue those who are trying to destroy it.”

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics