We tend to take things for granted. We’re used to seeing beautiful nature and gorgeous architecture and tend to think that if it survived hundreds of years before us, it will be here for hundreds of years from now. But that’s just simply not true. If we don’t learn to take care of our surroundings we will ruin them and be left with nothing. Here are just a few of the beautiful historical things we’ve lost in the past 5 years. Let’s make sure we don’t lose any more.
The fire in Notre Dame Cathedral shocked the whole world and became a personal tragedy for every Frenchman. A masterpiece of Gothic architecture suffered from a severe fire on April 15, 2019. According to the police investigation, the fire began in the center of the roof of the cathedral. The causes of the tragedy are still being clarified. According to one version, the fire may be associated with the restoration work that took place in the cathedral.
Over its 8-century history, Notre Dame has been a religious, cultural and educational center not only for France but for the whole world. It inspired many prominent artists, survived several wars, political and religious conflicts. It’s incredibly sad that we were unable to protect it in the 21st century.
2. Rock Archways at Legzira Beach, Morocco
Two beautiful arches on the beach of Legzira were the symbol of Morocco until one of them collapsed in September 2016. A pile of rocks on the coast is all that remains of a natural miracle that attracted thousands of tourists to the beach. Some citizens believe that the local authorities were to blame for the collapse of the arch. A few months before the tragedy, people began to notice cracks, as well as small stones falling out of the arch. It was clear that sooner or later it would collapse. Local residents believe that the authorities could’ve strengthened the arch, but chose not to.
3. Azure Window
Azure Window was a natural arch on the island of Gozo in Malta. The 28-metre-tall rock formation, which consisted of a pillar rising from the sea joined to the cliff by a horizontal slab, was created by the collapse of a sea cave, probably during the 19th century. The final collapse followed a century of natural erosion, during which large sections of the limestone arch had broken off and fallen into the sea. Many believe it was inevitable.
4. Temple of Bel, Syria
The main temple of Palmyra was destroyed in 2015 during the hostilities in Syria. The temple of Bel was one of the main religious buildings that have been around since ancient times. All that remains of it now is a pair of columns that stand in the middle of the ruins.
Many sites in Palmyra are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, including the monumental ruins of the ancient city, as well as art and architecture dating from the 1st and 2nd centuries. There were more than 1,000 columns, a Roman aqueduct and a necropolis for more than 500 tombs. Unfortunately, many treasures of this ancient city suffered during the conflict in Syria.
5. The Little Mermaid, Copenhagen, Denmark
The sculpture was created by Edward Eriksen in 1909, but we have already managed to lose the monument several times over its relatively short existence. The Little Mermaid was beheaded twice and once – her hands were broken off. It was covered with paint and graffiti countless times too. People committed these abominable acts of vandalism because they were bored, they were drunk or wanted to express their political protest. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that someday vandals will leave the monument alone, but we hope that there is a way to protect it.
6. Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire, England
It is no secret that tourism harms attractions, but the fact that people destroyed 320 million years of history in just a few seconds sounds incredible. In June 2018, teenagers knocked over one of Brimham’s balancing rocks, and it split into small pieces. The bizarre balancing rocks in Brimham were formed by wind and ice many millions of years ago, but for some reason, people decided that they could destroy this beauty. In addition to physically destroying the natural treasure, they decided to scratch their names on the stones that appeared on Earth even before the first dinosaurs existed.
7. Lake Mackenzie, Tasmania, Australia
In January and February of 2016, Tasmania was hit hard by forest fires that also affected Lake Mackenzie, the most picturesque lake in the region. Forest fires destroyed plants, some of them, such as pencil pines, have no chance of recovery. Fire inflicted damage on 20,000 ha of Tasmanian wildlife. Now, several years after the disaster, the plants are starting to grow back and nature is being restored, but it’s difficult to say when we’ll be able to see this place looking alive and green again.
8. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree National Park is a wonderful place that boasts a unique ecosystem with a surreal landscape and a variety of unusual plants. In January 2019, during a 35-day government shutdown, the park remained open to the public. Ranger control was significantly weakened on these days and the park suffered from nightmarish acts of vandalism.
People cut down young shoots of trees, made bonfires, ruined the paths, and graffitied all over the place. One of the park’s former managers said it might take 200-300 years for the park to recover from the harm that people did in just a couple of weeks.