When the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took over the historic city of Palmyra a year ago, they attacked its rich cultural heritage by bombing and destroying the ancient architectural monuments and historical sites. The terrorist organisation carried out explosions, reducing ancient temples, including one that was 2000 years old, tombs, columns, and other antiquities to rubble. 

Recently, Syrian forces backed by Russian air strikes, seized the historic city of Palmyra from the Islamic State. But what remains are just the ruins of the monuments that once used to be. Joseph Eid, a photographer for AFP, had captured these historical monuments before ISIS wrecked havoc in the city. A year later, he captured the sites again, showing the destruction caused by the Islamic State.

Here are 12 pictures of the historical sites before and after they were destroyed.

Temple of Bel before and after it was destroyed by ISIS in September 2015.

The Arc du Triomphe (Triumph’s Arch).

The temple of Bel dated back to 32 AD.

Security officials at the same temple site.

The temple of Baalshamin which was once visible through these two columns.

The remains of temple of Bel’s “Cella”.

Ruins of a statue in the Palmyra museum.

Pictures taken in the Palymra museum show the damaged artifacts.

It’s sad how a few people’s act of vandalism affects thousands and makes the world lose its precious heritage.