Powerful photos put Palmyra's destruction on stark display.

Powerful Before and After Photos Show Just How Much ISIS Destroyed Palmyra

Powerful Before and After Photos Show Just How Much ISIS Destroyed Palmyra

The Slatest
Your News Companion
April 2 2016 6:58 PM

Powerful Before and After Photos Show Just How Much ISIS Destroyed Palmyra

518421242-general-view-taken-on-march-31-2016-shows-a
A general view taken on Thursday shows a photographer holding his picture of the Temple of Bel taken on March 14, 2014, in front of the remains of the historic temple after it was destroyed by ISIS in September 2015 in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

Joseph Eid, a photographer for AFP news agency, went to the Syrian city of Palmyra after it was recaptured from ISIS. Rather than simply take photos of the ancient city as it is now, he carried photos that he had snapped two years ago to try to recreate the images. The results put on stark display just how much damage ISIS did to the world-famous city.

Syria’s antiquities director, Mamoun Abdulkarim, had sounded an optimistic note on Palmyra’s ruins, saying they were in better shape than expected. But he also said it would likely take as long as five years to restore them, and some things have been lost forever. “Of course the Temple of Bel will never be the same. According to our experts, we will definitely be able to restore a third of the destroyed cella, or maybe even more if we carry out additional studies with UNESCO’s help,” Abdulkarim said. “I invite archaeologists and experts everywhere to come work with us because this site is part of the heritage of all humanity.”

518421244-general-view-taken-on-march-31-2016-shows-a
Another angle of the Temple of Bel taken on Thursday in Palmyra, Syria.

Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

518420650-general-view-taken-on-march-31-2016-shows-a
A general view taken on Thursday shows a photographer holding his picture of the Arc du Triomphe from March 14, 2014, in front of the remains of the monument in Palmyra, Syria.

Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

518421852-general-view-taken-on-march-31-2016-shows-a
Another angle shows the full extent of the devastation to the Arc du Triomphe (Triumph’s Arch) on Thursday in Palmyra, Syria.

Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

518420524-picture-taken-on-march-31-2016-shows-a-photographer
A picture taken on Thursday shows a photographer holding his picture of the Temple of Baal Shamin seen through two Corinthian columns from March 14, 2014, in Palmyra, Syria.

Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

518421398-picture-taken-on-march-31-2016-shows-a-photographer
A picture taken on Thursday shows a photographer holding his picture of the museum of Palmyra taken on March 14, 2014, in front of what remains of the same spot.

Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.