12 Historically Significant Things Destroyed Due to Human Stupidity

by Rajarshi Saha3 years ago

7 In 2018, Jainer Jesus Flores Vigo, a truck driver, drove his truck into the world-famous 2,000-year-old NAZCA lines in Peru, causing significant damage to the heritage site.

In 2018, a truck driver’s reckless attitude damaged a 2,000-year-old historical artifact.

The world-famous NAZCA lines in Peru, which were drawn into the ground around 2,000 years ago by the ancient residents, were plowed over by a truck driver.


The arid region stretches out over an area of about 280 square miles, depicting various figures of animals, plants, imaginary beings, and geometric figures. Reports suggest that the driver didn’t obey the warning signs, and entered into the restricted UNESCO heritage site in Peru’s desert plains.

The authorities identified the owner of the truck as Jainer Jesus Flores Vigo. The then 40-year-old man’s truck left deep imprints in the form of tracks across a 50-meter by 100-meter area of the site, causing significant damage to three of the geoglyphs.

Jainer was arrested the same night near the city of Nazca for entering into a restricted site, the ministry said. According to news reports, the court didn’t find enough evidence which could indicate that Janiner did destroy the site on purpose.

“They are the most outstanding group of geoglyphs anywhere in the world and are unmatched in their extent, magnitude, quantity, size, diversity, and ancient tradition to any similar work in the world,” UNESCO mentioned in a statement. (source)


8 In 2001, the Islamist extremist group, the Taliban, used explosives to destroy a 6th-century Buddha statue in Bamiyan valley.

Buddha of Bamiyan
Image credits: James Gordon/Wikimedia

It’s no secret that war has ravaged our planet, and for the past few decades, Afghanistan has been a devastating proof of this.

Perhaps the country’s worst cultural heritage loss of all was the Buddha of Bamiyan.
The ancient sandstone carvings were etched into a cliff in Bamiyan Valley back in the 6th century when Bamiyan was a Buddhist holy site for tens of thousands of monks.

The statue, which survived for hundreds of years, was once the world’s tallest Buddha until 2001 when Islamic extremists planted explosives around the landmark statue and blew it up.

Taliban forced prisoners to carry out the bombing, which took almost a month.

“First they fired at the Buddhas with tanks and artillery shells, but when that was ineffective, they planted explosives to try to destroy them,” Mirza Hussain, a then 26-year-old Taliban prisoner told the reporters. (source)


9 In 2016, a 24-year-old man destroyed the 126-year-old statue of Portuguese King Dom Sebastian I placed outside the Rossio Railway Station in Lisbon, while clicking a selfie after climbing over it.

King Dom Sebastian I
Image credits: ribeiroantonio/Shutterstock.com

Another tragic case where selfie obsession ruined a piece of art in Portugal.

A child-size statue of Portuguese King Dom Sebastian I, which stood outside the Rossio Railway Station in Lisbon, Portugal, lasted for 126 years before it fell because of a selfie craze.

A then 24-year-old man, while climbing over the statue to click a perfect selfie, accidentally knocked the statue over, and shattered it to pieces. The unknown man tried to flee the scene after the incident, but he was arrested by the local police.

The legendary King Dom Sebastian, who ruled Portugal from 1557 to 1578, became the king at the age of three.

Unfortunately, he died at the age of 24 in the Battle of Alcacer Quibir.

“We are (also) looking into the possibility of using a replica found at the palace of the Counts of Penamacor,” Infraestruturas de Portugal told the news agency. (source)


10 Construction workers destroyed 1,800-year-old tombs while building an IKEA Centre in the Chinese city of Nanjing in 2007.

1,800-year-old tomb
1,800-year-old tomb

In 2007, a new IKEA branch project led to the destruction of some historical artifacts in the Chinese city of Nanjing.

Construction workers unknowingly destroyed 10 ancient tombs which were nearly 1,800 years old, while building an IKEA Centre for Nanjing people.

The tombs from the Six Dynasties period from  CE 220 to 589, were discovered on the outskirts of the ancient southeastern Chinese city.

According to the city archaeologists, the tomb’s high-quality craftsmanship indicates that they probably belonged to a wealthy family of that era.

The tombs, built with green bricks decorated with ornate lotus patterns, were destroyed by heavy machines and bulldozers during excavation.

Under Chinese law, anyone found guilty of destroying ancient historic items can be charged with 50,000 to 500,000 yuan, about $6,600-$65,700, but the law enforcement agencies are not strict enough there. (source)


11 In 2006, NASA admitted that the original footage of Apollo 11’s Moon-landing was erased, and the tape reused to save money.

One of the greatest scientific achievements recorded in history books is NASA’s Apollo 11 moon mission. An estimated 650 million people watched the event in 1969. But rumors were surfacing that NASA lost the original footage of the historic event.

After numerous inquiries on NASA’s moon landing pictures and recordings, they finally admitted in 2006 that the original video recordings of the landing event were not found, and an engineer, Richard Nafzger, has been searching for them since then at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Then, NASA made a new claim that the tape they were looking for has been retrieved, and it was magnetically erased and reused to save some money.

However, Nafzger refuted the arguments of conspiracy theorists who believe the entire Apollo 11 mission was a hoax, which was conducted repeatedly on a movie set in a secret military base in the USA. (source)


12 In 2013, an American tourist violated museum rules and broke a finger off a 600-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary after he started touching it at a museum in Florence, Italy.

In 2013, an American tourist’s reckless attitude spread outrage among the Italian people.

A then 55-year-old man snapped the finger of a 600-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary at Florence’s Museo dell’Opera del Duomo.

During his visit to the museum in Italy, he ignored the signs and started touching the magnificent piece of art made by medieval sculptor Giovanni Ambrogio and ultimately damaged one of its fingers.

A security guard spotted him touching the priceless sculpture, but could not manage to stop him in time. Ambra Nepi, the head of communications for Florence’s museum, told reporters, “This was already a very fragile piece of art, but every year throughout the Duomo we have many items that are damaged and broken.”

Luckily, no charges were pressed against the tourist, but the man was taken in by police for questioning later. (source)

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