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Heritage News

Stonehenge road tunnel approved despite protests

London - Britain has approved a controversial plan to build a road tunnel close to the prehistoric site of Stonehenge to relieve congestion, despite strong opposition from archaeologists and druids.

Pandemic harms efforts to rein in antiquities theft

Paris - From ancient mosaics to world-famous canvasses -- the trafficking of cultural treasures has gathered pace during the coronavirus pandemic with criminals increasingly conducting the trade online.

Winter rains in Beirut finish off blast-ravaged homes

Beirut - Norma Mnassakh was leaving her apartment in the Lebanese capital when a cloud of dust suddenly billowed from the Ottoman-era building next door.

Syrians spruce up famed Crusader castle after years of war

Homs - Clutching a small saw, Syrian volunteer Rana Jreij cut away at bushes growing up the centuries-old walls of one of the world's most famous Crusader castles, Krak des Chevaliers.

Torlonia collection's ancient sculptures back on show after restoration

Rome - One of the world's biggest private collections of antique marble sculpture is bringing restored works, from mythical creatures to statues of emperors, back to public display in Rome this month.

Study finds preserved brain material in Vesuvius victim

Rome - Brain cells have been found in exceptionally preserved form in the remains of a young man killed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago, an Italian study has revealed.

Egypt unveils coffins buried 2,500 years ago

Saqqara - Archaeologists in Egypt said Saturday they had found 59 well-preserved and sealed wooden coffins over recent weeks that were buried more than 2,500 years ago.

In Iraq's Mosul, new statues rise from ashes of IS rule

Mosul - As sunset nears, the residents of Iraq's Mosul flock to a golden-tinted statue of a woman looking out over their scarred city with an expression of steady defiance.

Aboriginal owners decry 'corporate vandalism' after sacred site destruction

Sydney - The traditional owners of an ancient Aboriginal site in Australia blown up by Rio Tinto accused the mining giant of a "shocking act of corporate vandalism" Friday in their first public comment on the incident.

Iraq's Jews fled long ago, heritage struggles on

Arbil - Growing up in Iraq, Omar Farhadi would heat up dinner for his Jewish neighbours when they rested on the Sabbath. Few are left, and their heritage risks fading away too.

In crumbling workers' paradise, Russians live in squalor

Tver - An elegant complex of red-brick buildings, the "Proletarka" in the Russian city of Tver was designed as model housing for workers. But a century later, its impoverished residents are living in squalor.

Yemen's heritage battered first by bombs, then floods

Sanaa - Muddy waters lap overfoot in Sanaa's Old City, inhabited without interruption for more than 2,500 years but now facing disaster after floods that threaten the collapse of irreplaceable houses.

Desecrated: blast leaves old Beirut's heritage gems in ruins

Beirut - The monster explosion that levelled Beirut's port darkened the Lebanese capital's future but also blasted its past into oblivion, ravaging many beloved architectural and cultural treasures.

Egypt highway uproots graves, homes in 'City of Dead'

Apo - Egyptian mother-of-three Menna said she was caught off guard when a bulldozer clearing space for a controversial highway flattened much of a mausoleum that doubled as her home in a sprawling cemetery.

Relics of its golden past, Mosul's trains left to rust

Mosul - Nearly a century ago, Iraqis and Westerners stood here with tickets to Berlin, Istanbul or Venice. Today, the rusting tracks and overturned carriages of Mosul's train station betray the city's isolation.

Volunteer confesses to setting French cathedral on fire

Rennes - A volunteer church assistant has confessed to setting the fire that severely damaged a Gothic cathedral in the western French city of Nantes, his lawyer said Sunday, though his motives remain a mystery.

Volunteer indicted over French cathedral fire

Rennes - A volunteer assistant suspected of setting a French cathedral on fire was rearrested, then indicted and detained in pre-trial custody by prosecutors overnight Saturday to Sunday.

First Islamic prayers held in Turkey's Hagia Sophia since mosque reconversion

Istanbul - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday led the first Muslim prayers attended by thousands in Hagia Sophia since the controversial reconversion of the iconic Istanbul cathedral into a mosque.

Erdogan joins first Muslim prayer in Hagia Sophia as mosque

Istanbul - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined thousands Friday in the first Muslim prayers in Hagia Sophia since the Istanbul landmark was controversially converted back into a mosque.

Turkey's Erdogan visits Hagia Sofia after reconversion to mosque

Istanbul - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid a surprise visit to Hagia Sofia on Sunday just days before the first Muslim prayers are due to be held at the Istanbul landmark since it was reconverted to a mosque last week.

One family's vigil to protect the memory of Albania's dictator

- Sabire Plaku gets short of breath when she climbs the hill that leads to the last intact statue of Albania's communist former dictator Enver Hoxha.Every morning, the 85-year-old checks that nobody has touched the effigy, which depicts him as a warrior....

Hagia Sophia to open 'outside prayer times': Turkey

Istanbul - Turkey's Hagia Sophia will open to visitors outside prayer times and its Christian icons will remain, religious officials said Tuesday, after a court ruling paved the way for it to become a mosque.

Pope joins criticism of Turkey turning Hagia Sophia into mosque

Vatican City - Pope Francis on Sunday joined an international chorus of condemnation of Turkey's decision to convert Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia landmark back into a mosque.

Erdogan rebuffs criticism over Hagia Sophia conversion to mosque

Istanbul - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday rejected worldwide condemnation over Turkey's decision to convert the Byzantine-era monument Hagia Sophia back into a mosque, saying it represented his country's will to use its "sovereign rights".

UNESCO warns Turkey against Hagia Sophia mosque conversion

Paris - The UN's cultural agency UNESCO warned Turkey on Friday against converting the Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul into a mosque, urging dialogue before any decision is taken.

Macron gives blessing to recreate Notre-Dame's gothic spire

Paris - French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday gave his blessing to a faithful reconstruction of the spire of the fire-damaged Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, in a change of heart after previously calling for a "contemporary" touch.

'Consensus' Notre-Dame spire should be rebuilt as it was

Paris - There is a "large consensus" that the spire of the fire-damaged Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt as it was, France's new culture minister said Thursday.

Looters target Myanmar temple treasures in tourist slump

Bagan - A squad of armed police patrol Myanmar's sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to coronavirus restrictions.

Turkey's Erdogan rejects criticism over Hagia Sophia landmark

Istanbul - Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday rejected criticism over his willingness to convert Istanbul's famed Hagia Sophia landmark into a mosque despite international and domestic concern.

Museum or mosque? Top Turkey court to rule on Hagia Sophia

Istanbul - Turkey's top court convened Thursday to consider whether Istanbul's emblematic landmark and former church Hagia Sophia can be redesignated as a mosque, a ruling which could inflame tensions with the West.
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Heritage display of an Amerindian tribe at the Heckington Show in Lincolnshire
Heritage display of an Amerindian tribe at the Heckington Show in Lincolnshire
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