It stood for more than 3000 years and was obliterated in seconds.
ISIL fighters laid waste to the ancient Iraqi city of Nimrud on a spring day two years ago.
Palaces and temples were blown up, a towering pyramid bulldozed.
Just 30 percent of one of the world’s great archeological treasures now remains.
United Nations says such deliberate destruction constitutes a war crime.
Archeologists describe it as cultural cleansing.
Islamic state has used these deliberate destructions of cultural heritage to attack cultural memory,
cultural identity and cultural diversity and a systematic campaign of cultural cleansing throughout the regions.
Now groups, such as Islamic state,
have established the destruction of cultural heritage and the theft of cultural property as important parts of Jihadi terrorism.
Other groups are going to do the same.
When ISIL was at its peak in 2014, there were more than 700 recorded attacks on cultural heritage in Syria and 90 in Iraq.
We’re talking churches, mosques, shrines and cemeteries.
Many of them places in use by local people as well as ancient sites like the Temple of Bel here.
Two thousand years old, its ruins were considered among the best preserved in the Syrian city of Palmyra.
This is it before and now after ISIL had been through.
Only the main entrance arch survived the explosives.
ISIL fighters reveled in the attention, filming themselves on their spree of destruction, this at Mosul Museum in Iraq.
Most of its ancient treasures were looted to finance Isil’s war.
But monitoring groups say there’s evidence it wasn’t always ISIL.
Syrian government forces and members of the Syrian opposition are implicated too.
Innovations in digital technology are offering hope that all is not lost, preserving the archaeological knowledge for future generations.
Fifteen years after the Afghan Taliban blew up the Buddhas of Bamiyan (in 2001),
the International Criminal Court gave a nine year prison sentence to a man who helped destroy the fabled shrines of Timbuktu in Mali.
It was the first time the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage was judged to be a war crime.
Mali’s ancient sites have now been rebuilt. And archeologists are returning to the rubble of ancient treasures elsewhere.
But given the atrocities often committed alongside that destruction.
Caretakers will also be mindful that many heritage sites are no longer just tourist destinations.