The Watch

Bosra Ancient City

Bosra, Syria

2004 World Monuments Watch

The ancient city of Bosra rose to preeminence in the first century A.D. when it superceded Petra as the capital of the Nabataeans. Its importance was further enhanced when it became the capital of the newly founded Provincia Arabia, following the Roman conquest of the fertile region of Hauran in A.D. 106. The glorious past of this ancient city is evident in its abundant archaeological remains, rivaling those of Jerash, Palmyra, and Apamea. Among its most important remains are a magnificent second-century Roman theater, several early Christian churches, and a number of early mosques within its walls. The city was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1980.

World Monuments Fund included the ancient city of Bosra on the 2004 World Monuments Watch because it has not been afforded the protection it deserves. The site has suffered from vandalism and neglect, and there are no comprehensive plans for its preservation. Financial and technical resources are sorely needed for the development and implementation of a conservation master plan for this classical wonder.

Since the Watch

Since the Syrian war began in March 2011, the country’s heritage sites have faced many risks. Combats within Bosra took place in December 2015, when pro-government forces tried to root out rebel fighters who had recently taken the city. A courtyard adjacent to a Roman theater and parts of the Ayyubid Citadel were damaged during the conflict, and the vulnerability of other areas in the ancient city was increased.

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