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Rare Crusader-era heaven and hell murals found in Syrian church

Archaeologists in Syria have discovered two Crusader-era murals depicting heaven and hell in a medieval church.

The murals, which measure about 8 feet (2.5 meters) high and 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) wide, were hanging on either side of the altar of a 12th century chapel inside the al-Marqab Citadel and had accumulated thick layers of dust and dirt, archaeologists said.

The panel depicting hell shows people being tortured inside a wheel covered with knives and others being hanged and burnt, said Marwan Hassan, head of the Department of Antiquities in Tartous. The one portraying heaven includes saints surrounded by light colors.

Hassan said the Crusader murals were important because they were the first ones found in the Middle East depicting heaven and hell.

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