Before its minaret collapsed in fighting Wednesday, Aleppo’s Umayyad Mosque was one of the oldest and most precious landmarks in Syria’s largest city. The UNESCO world heritage site dating back to the 11th-century drew many tourists and pilgrims each year.
Visitors will no longer be able to experience that mosque like they used to, for obvious reasons. (The streets in Aleppo’s old city are divided between pro- and anti-regime fighters at the moment, and not exactly fit for tourists.) But you can still see the courtyard as it used to be, thanks to a Web site that publishes panoramas of mosques, palaces and ruins from throughout the Arab world.
Following are some photos from the 360-degree view.
Here, for reference, is a photo of the same courtyard taken two days ago.
It’s worth noting that the entire old city of Aleppo made the United Nations’ heritage list in 1986 -- its unusually well-preserved medieval architecture and its historic role as the western terminus of the Silk Road gave it “an outstanding cultural heritage,” UNESCO writes. Sadly, that makes it likely that the Umayyad Mosque will not be not the last architectural casualty of Syria’s civil war.