Seven wonders of the world destroyed by war

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The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, China .

The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, China .

The 260ft tower, built in the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty, was often listed as one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s easy to see why. Made from white porcelain bricks, it reflected the sun during the day and the tower, along with the gold pineapple on its roof, was lit by lamps at night. Sadly when civil war erupted in the 1850s, the rebels who took over the city weren’t much interested in aesthetics. By 1856 the iconic structure was no more.

Ferhat Pasha Mosque, Bosnia

The focal point of Banja Luka, the grand mosque was one of the greatest examples of Islamic architecture in Europe. Completed in 1579 it survived intact for more than 400 years, but it couldn’t survive the early 1990s and the Bosnian War. In the space of three years, 16 of the country’s mosques were destroyed. On May 6, 1993 the Serb militia turned their gaze on the Ferhat Mosque and within 48 hours it had been razed to the ground.

National Library and Archive, Iraq

It took centuries to amass, but just minutes to destroy. In 2003, as war waged in Iraq and after weeks of looting, the library in central Baghdad, which housed the country’s archives - material dating back 10,000 years and chronicling one of the world’s earliest civilisations - went up in flames. On the ground, British journalists reported that the whole building had been gutted and talked of how once treasured handwritten documents had been left charred and torn.

Timbuktu shrines

In the early months of 2012, hardline Islamists seized control of Timbuktu in northern Mali. Their impact was immediate and severe. Known as the City of 333 Saints, historical monuments were attacked, tombs destroyed and religious buildings laid waste. The reason? The extremists considered the shrines to be idolatrous. Those whose job it was to care for the site were unable to do anything but watch as men, armed with chisels, and crying “Allahu akbar” (God is Greatest) did their worst.

The Parthenon, Greece

It had stood since the 5th century BC as a symbol of the Athenian empire. However, in the late 17th century the site was attacked by Venetian forces. In sustained mortar fire, walls collapsed, historic friezes fell and part of the roof crumbled to rubble. The final insult to classical Greek history came a few years later when the famous Elgin marbles were removed by a British Ambassador and brought back to England, igniting a row which continues today.

The Amber Room, St Petersburg.

When it comes to describing the Amber Room, opulence doesn’t even come close. Intricately decorated with gold leaf, mirrors and amber, the room was housed in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo in St Petersburg. However, the lavish surroundings caught the eye of the Nazis during the Second World War, who ordered the place to be looted. Their aim was to rebuild the room in Germany, but the various pieces never made it back and the original panels were never seen again.

Bamiyan buddhas, Afghanistan

The ancient sandstone Buddhas, once the world’s tallest were destroyed in 1999 in an unprecedented attack on a heritage site. Carved into a cliff, the destruction of the statues was met with global condemnation and for the Taliban became a very public symbol of intent.