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Treasure hunters vandalize two historic monuments in Morocco


Gantrat El Fellous and Dar Oum Sultan, two historical sites located in the rural commune of Aït Sibern in the province of Khémisset, have been vandalized by groups of “treasure hunters” over the course of the last two months, according to national heritage management officials.

Treasure hunters vandalize two historic monuments in Morocco

Gantrat El Fellous is a historic bridge and an architectural monument built by the Almohad dynasty in the 12th century which connects Ribat Al-Fath to Fez.

Treasure hunters vandalize two historic monuments in Morocco

Youssef Boukbout, a teacher-researcher at the National Institute of Archeology and Heritage Sciences in Rabat (INSAP), stated that “Gantrat El Fellous suffered, almost three months ago, from a systematic destruction by treasure hunters,” who used heavy equipment to dig a tunnel over four meters wide inside the historic bridge.

Treasure hunters vandalize two historic monuments in Morocco

The treasure hunters also dug a six-meter hole at Dar Oum Sultan, said the Heritage Director of the Ministry of Culture, Abdellah Alaoui, in a statement. The site was a royal stopover residence occupied by sultans during their journeys between Fez and Rabat, but has since fallen into disrepair.

Treasure hunters vandalize two historic monuments in Morocco

Alaoui described these acts as “crimes against national historic monuments,” stressing that the two monuments “represent a great historical and architectural value which must be preserved.”

Treasure hunters vandalize two historic monuments in Morocco

He added that as soon as he was informed, the ministry alerted the governor of the province of Khémisset, the president of the commune of Aït Sibern and the royal gendarmerie.

Alaoui explained that he also dispatched two archaeologists to assess the extent of the damage made, adding that the authorities have launched an investigation to identify the perpetrators of these criminal acts.

Author: Amira El Masaiti | Source: Morocco World News [March 14, 2017]
TANN

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