This amazingly well preserved place surrounded by miles of desert, used to be an important Arab City in northern Iraq on the major Roman trade routes. Abandoned over 1750 years ago, it doesn’t look like much has happened to it since, until around 1960, when reconstruction work started and it became an important site of nationalist propaganda: the Arab city that bravely resisted the West.

I visited in 2012 on my whistle stop tour of Iraq, and what better way to experience it than from the top of a big yellow rusty crane which was installed there as part of Saddam’s plans to rebuild the place. Much to the alarm of the Iraqi Police tasked with looking after the site I must add – but fortunately they didn’t shoot me, even though one of them looked just like Saddam himself.