Preliminary reports confirm that Hatra has suffered further destruction since the city was taken in 2015. As soon as security conditions allow, UNESCO will send, in cooperation with the Iraqi government, a rapid emergency assessment mission to evaluate damage more precisely and take emergency safeguarding measures. This is essential prior to preparing conservation management plans for the site and to support communities in regaining confidence.
A crossroad of cultures since the dawn of humanity, Hatra represents one of Iraq's most iconic sites. It attests to the wealth and diversity of Iraqi and Arab identity. By the 3rd century BC, it was a fortified Arab principality that later on became the capital of the Kingdom. It comprised a large fortified city that withstood Roman invasions in A.D. 116 and 198 due to its high, thick walls, reinforced by towers.
The architecture of Hatra is characterized by a unique blend of Hellenistic and Roman styles, with Eastern decorative features as a testimony to the greatness of Iraqi civilization. The site was inscribed as the first Iraqi UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. It has been inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger since 2015.
The bulldozing and pillage of its treasures and carved reliefs in 2015 sparked unanimous indignation and strengthened international mobilization in favor of the values and heritage that unite all humanity. On 23-24 February 2017, UNESCO held an International Coordination Conference on the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in Liberated Areas of Iraq, laying the ground for an emergency, medium and long term action plan to preserve the country’s cultural heritage.