Among the ruins of one of the world's oldest surviving Byzantine churches, about 30 kilometers northwest of Aleppo, stand the remains of the pillar of Saint Simeon Stylites. The fifth-century ascetic monk is said to have lived 37 years as a hermit, perched on a platform at the top of a column.

More than 1,500 years later, the site still attracted pilgrims and tourists, including this nun snapping a photo of the pillar. More than 40 years later, last May 12, the church was reportedly heavily damaged in an airstrike in the ongoing Syrian war.

See more slides from My Grand-Père's World here.