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Palmyra arch to be recreated in Trafalgar Square

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A historic 2,000-year-old Roman arch is set to be rebuilt in London’s Trafalgar Square

The stone arch is one of the few remaining parts of the Temple of Bel in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

Most of the temple has been destroyed by ISIS fighters as part of the continuous destruction of the UNESCO world heritage site over the past year.

Replicas of the 15m-tall structure will be built in London’s Trafalgar Square and New York’s Times Square as part of world heritage week in April.

The 3D-printed copy of the temple entrance has been proposed by the Institute of Digital Technology – a joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford and Dubai’s Museum of the Future.

The IDA hopes the arches will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage.

Back in September, photos released by the UN training and research agency (Unitar) confirmed that most of the 2000 year-old temple had been destroyed.

The building was dedicated in 32AD, and fused near eastern and Greco Roman architecture.

The largest building in Palmyra, it contained a cella (inner temple) with two chambers, framed by pillars that are believed to have inspired US architects including those responsible for the Capitol Building and White House.

The destruction of the Temple of Bel came just weeks after ISIS militants beheaded Khaled Asaad, the 82-year-old antiquities chief at the ancient city of Palmyra, followed by the razing of the nearby Baal Shamin temple.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • For some reason I'm worried that this will draw unwanted attention to the original...

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  • I share Peter Kelly's concern, but I think that every time ISIS destroys something of great historical and cultural value it should be promptly recreated at full scale in a highly visible location.
    If holographic technology is sufficiently developed then this would be the ideal form - 3D ephemeral reproduction, and if there was any way of projecting such images (ideally many times magnified) onto areas of the Middle East occupied by ISIS this might just act as a form of aversion therapy against the further destruction of our heritage.
    Imagine the ghost of the Palmyra ruins hovering - Aurora-style - in the sky over Mosul or Raqqa.

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