Lion of Babylon joins List of Crumbling Antiquities

On both sides of the statue, cracks are filled with white plaster, evidence of improper and unprofessional attempts to repair and preserve it. This practice is inconsistent with UNESCO’s guidelines on the preservation of archaeological ruins. Notably, former President Saddam Hussein included Babylon’s archaeological ruins in his development program. Saddam had some ruins in Babylon poorly reconstructed, to objections by UNESCO as harmful to Babylon's antiquities.

Hussein Falayeh, the director of Babylon's antiquities department, told Al-Monitor, “There are no rehabilitation projects at the moment for the Lion of Babylon. The department had reconstructed the statue’s platform to remedy the signs of erosion in a project funded by the World Monument Fund.”

Falayeh admitted that “visitors are committing some violations.” He added, “It is very painful to see visitors climbing over the lion, which shows a lack of awareness of the importance of this historical monument.”

He added, "The guards around the lion are unable to control the tourists flocking to the site.”

On the measures to stop these incidents, he said, "A 50-centimeter [1.6-feet] security barrier will be erected as part of the precautionary actions to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. Visitors will be prohibited from crossing the perimeter.”

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