Giant Palmyra arch replicas to go on show in London, New York

ISIS seized Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site northeast of Damascus known as the “Pearl of the Desert”, in May and beheaded its 82-year-old former antiquities chief three months later (File Photo: AFP)

Giant replicas of an ancient arch in the Syrian city of Palmyra attacked by ISIS will go on show in London and New York next year, organizers said Monday.

The full-size recreation of the arch from the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel will reportedly made using the world’s biggest 3D printer and put on display in London’s Trafalgar Square and Times Square in New York in April.

ISIS seized Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site northeast of Damascus known as the “Pearl of the Desert”, in May and beheaded its 82-year-old former antiquities chief three months later.

In September, satellite images confirmed that the Temple of Bel, the main temple at Palmyra, had been targeted by ISIS as part of a campaign to destroy pre-Islamic monuments, tombs and statues it considers idolatrous.

U.N. experts said the main building of the temple plus a row of columns had been destroyed.

Alexy Karenowska, director of technology at the Institute of Digital Archaeology in Oxford which is funding the reconstruction, confirmed a Times newspaper report that the replicas would be created for a special world heritage week.

“Reproductions/models of the structure, large and small, will be produced and installed around the world in schools, museums and prominent public spaces,” Karenowska wrote in an email to AFP.

The institute’s executive director, Roger Michel, was quoted in The Times as saying that the replicas standing 15 metres (50 feet) high were likely to be on temporary display.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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