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12 Historically Significant Things Destroyed Due to Human Stupidity

Historical things destroyed

Our planet is packed full of amazing attractions. Some of the major attractions are historic structures and artifacts that give us a glimpse into lost civilizations. But, the activities of many people among the seven billion who inhabit this planet pose a risk to the most spectacular and ancient landmarks. This has been proved in recent times as well. In the last few decades, numerous historical structures and artifacts have been destroyed because of tourism, vandalism, and war, and some of them are destroyed beyond repair. Keep reading to find out 12 historically significant things destroyed due to human stupidity.

1. In 2015, two tourists destroyed the 300-year-old Statue of the Two Hercules used as the symbol of the Italian city of Cremona when they climbed over it to take a perfect selfie.

Statue of the Two Hercules
Image credits: Zigres/Shutterstock.com

Two tourists made headlines in Italy, but for a bad reason.

A 300-year-old Statue of the Two Hercules has long been a symbol of the city of Cremona in northern Italy. It is said that the legendary mythological demi-God discovered the city.

But, in 2015, two tourists, obsessed with selfies, smashed the iconic statue while trying to climb over it to get a selfie. It is the portion of the crown that was destroyed by the tourist’s lack of etiquette.

The priceless statue was built in 1700 and was originally built to put over Cremona’s city gates.

It looks like people will do anything for a perfect snap. (source)

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2. In 2013, a 2,300-year-old Mayan pyramid was destroyed to make way for a road fill project by a construction company in Noh Mul, Belize.

The small Caribbean nation of Belize is well known for its lovely beaches, outstanding barrier reef, rain forest, and extensive relics left by the Mayans.

But, In 2013, the country lost one of its historic monuments, because of a construction company. A 2,300-year-old Mayan pyramid at Noh Mul was destroyed by bulldozers to make fill for roads.

According to reports, the 65-foot-tall pyramid was constructed around 250 BCE with hand-cut limestone bricks, which was a quality material used by the companies to improve the quality of local roads, and it’s prized by contractors.

“This is one of the worst that I have seen in my entire 25 years of archaeology in Belize,” was how it was described by the archaeologist, John Morris, from the Institute of Archaeology, in Belize. (source)

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3. Two teenagers in 2016 damaged a 5,000-year-old rock carving of skiing by scratching along the image lines using a sharp object to make it more visible and distinct in the Norwegian Island of Tro.

The ancient skier carving
The ancient skier carving, before it was damaged. (Nordland County) Image credits: Smithsonianmag.com

The Norwegian island of Tro has a 5,000-year-old rock carving depicting a man skiing. The carving was one of the world’s earliest indications of skiing, and it also inspired the symbol of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.

Sadly, in 2016, two teenagers with good intentions ruined the ancient carving, in an attempt to make it more visible and clearer. They used a sharp object to scratch along the image’s linings to make it more distinct.

Reports suggest that original carvings were destroyed and are beyond repair. “It’s a tragedy because it’s one of the most famous Norwegian historical sites,” the mayor of the nearby Alstahaug Municipality told the reporters.

The boys realized their mistake and made a public statement apologizing for their ignorant behavior.

Officials didn’t disclose their names to prevent any potential abuse towards the teenagers. (source)

4. In 1759, Reverend Francis Gastrell demolished William Shakespeare’s house after buying it six years before in 1753 because he was not happy with the tourist surge in the place, and also the people of the town were not happy with his attitude.

Stratford-upon-Avon- Shakespeare’s New Place
Stratford-upon-Avon- Shakespeare’s New Place. Image credits: Tripadvisor

When Reverend Francis Gastrell bought Shakespeare’s house, Stratford-upon-Avon, in 1753, he quickly became frustrated with the rising number of tourists at the place. In addition to that, he had issues with the local officials over taxes.

People in the town were already mad at him for cutting down a mulberry tree planted by Shakespeare in the garden. Then, he did something which was probably unthinkable for many Shakespeare lovers. Six years after buying the house, he destroyed the former home of one of the most famous poets in history.

The people of Stratford-upon-Avon were devastated when they heard about this. Gastrell’s popularity plummeted drastically, and eventually, he had to get out of the town. (source)

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5. In 1941, When Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler, sent three million German soldiers to invade the Soviet Union under Operation Barbarossa, they looted and destroyed precious artworks from the famous Amber Room in Russia.

Amber room
Image credits: Giggel/web.archive.org

The Amber Room, which was decorated with six tones of Amber and semi-precious stones by Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram, was sent to Russia in 18 large containers in the 1700s.
The room built with international collaboration was set up in the Winter House in St. Petersburg as a part of a European art collection.

The magnificent room of art was used as a private meditation room, a gathering room, and sometimes as a trophy cabinet. According to historians, the total estimated value of the precious room would be $142 million in today’s world.

In1941, Adolf Hitler started Operation Barbarossa, which led to the invasion of the Soviet Union by three million German soldiers. Thousands of art collections were looted during that period from the illustrious Amber Room, as Nazis believed they belonged to Germans since they were made by Germans. (source)

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6. In 2015, Islamic State militants destroyed the ancient Hatra site in Iraq, built 2,000 years ago.

Hatra
Hatra. Image credits: Véronique Dauge/Wikimedia

The Islamic State, known for its violent, extremist ideas, has killed thousands of people and forced many others to flee their homes. In addition to ruining people’s lives, they destroyed many historic artifacts, and monuments as well.

In 2015, militants associated with the Islamic State demolished the historical archaeological site of Hatra in Iraq, which was built 2,000 years ago.

The iconic historical site, which is 110 km southwest of Mosul, was a secured city that stood strong against the invasions of Romans because of its thick walls. Not only that, Hatra city contained several temples and sculptures dedicated to gods like Apollo and Poseidon.

Officials suggested that militants had used explosives and bulldozers to smash down the buildings.

According to IS, which captured a large proportion of Iraq and Syria, shrines and statues are “false idols” that have to go down to pieces. “The destruction of Hatra marks a turning point in the appalling strategy of cultural cleansing underway in Iraq,” head of UNESCO, Irina Bokova mentioned in a statement. (source

Also read: 10 Lesser-known Facts About Great Disasters in Human History

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