Main content

Palmyra: Temple of Bel

One of Palmyra's most iconic structures - and the man who gave his life to protect the city.

The Museum of Lost Objects traces the histories of 10 antiquities or cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria.

In May 2015, the Syrian city of Palmyra was captured by the forces of the so-called Islamic State. Few of the group’s excesses have won as much attention as their ravaging of the city. They waged a campaign of violence against the local population, and they systematically destroyed many of the city’s great monuments, including the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel. We trace the story of the Temple, pay homage to Palmyra’s ancient warrior Queen Zenobia – and hear from a modern-day Zenobia, daughter of Khaled al-Asaad, director of antiquities at Palmyra, who was beheaded by IS. She tells us when IS militants took over her home and her last words with her father. This programme was first broadcast on 1 March, 2016.

Presenter: Kanishk Tharoor
Producer: Maryam Maruf

Contributors: Nasser Rabbat, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Salam al-Kuntar, University of Pennsylvania Museum; Zenobia al-Asaad, daughter of Khaled al-Asaad, her words read in English by Amira Ghazalla

Picture: Temple of Bel, Palmyra
Credit: Getty

With thanks to Faisal Irshaid of BBC Arabic, Alma Hassoun of BBC Monitoring, Rubina Raja of Aarhus University, Christopher Jones of Columbia University, and Christa Salamandra of City University of New York.

Available now

16 minutes

Last on

Mon 6 Jul 2020 14:45


  • Tue 1 Mar 2016 12:04
  • Mon 6 Jul 2020 14:45

Museum of Lost Objects ‒ The Podcast

Museum of Lost Objects ‒ The Podcast

Download podcasts featuring extra material from the series and listen at your leisure.

About presenter Kanishk Tharoor...

About presenter Kanishk Tharoor...

Revealing the treasures of the Museum of Lost Objects