One must dodge sniper bullets these days to get to the Aleppo National Museum, located on the edge of the historic center of this war-torn northern Syrian city. Inside, the place looks more like a bunker than a cultural institution housing treasures from archaeological excavations across northern and eastern Syria over the past 100 years. In the courtyard, a massive basalt stone lion from Arslan Tash — the site of an Iron Age kingdom east of Aleppo conquered by the Assyrians in the 9th century B.C. — is now almost completely covered with bags filled with sand and pebbles to protect it from mortars and rockets that often crash into the museum’s courtyard.
Read More: Amid Devastation of Aleppo, Syria, Archaeological Museum Fights to Preserve Heritage