According to the Minister of Culture of the Syrian Arab Republic Lubanah Mshaweh, many local residents take part in the restoration of Palmyra, because they respect their hometown and realise the importance of the work done to restore historical sites.
“All state bodies combined are trying to develop Syria and turn it into the way it once was. We must breathe new life into this, because stones without people bear no meaning,” noted the Minister of Culture.
According to Natalia Solovieva, a member of the International Scientific Committee on Palmyra, deputy director of the Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences, all residents of Tadmor are paid for their work at Palmyra. Experts pay great attention to the matters of life in this city, because the restoration of Palmyra is the return of refugees to their homes, added Solovieva.
"I expect that by the middle of next year we will complete all preparatory activities and begin the actual process of restoring the Arch of Triumph with the joint efforts of the Syrian-Russian team. Of course, it will be a very challenging task, since as the results of the studies suggest, unfortunately, the pylons and nearby columns of the Arch are in poor condition" Natalia Solovieva said.
She noted that the bulk of the restoration work would far exceed the expected volume. "Together, we will not only restore the Monumental Arch of Palmyra, but also develop new approaches to the modern restoration of monuments of ancient architecture, antiquity of the Mediterranean region as a whole and collect unique data that will most likely be put in scientific use, into the golden fund of the Syrian history," Solovieva believes.
Grigory Ivanov, the chief architect of the project, told about the materials planned to be used in the restoration of the Arch of Triumph. “Fragments of the buildings will be restored with original materials. One of the important criteria we have set for ourselves is to avoid using historically inauthentic materials that had never been used in the building originally," Ivanov said.
He noted that although the arch seems small, it is insanely complex structure-wise. It will not be an easy task to recreate its geometry, because the method of its construction has been lost.
Palmyra being one of the few preserved ancient architectural complexes, nicknamed the "pearl of the desert", was built in the I-II centuries AD, during the Roman rule. The city stands in the Syrian desert, between Damascus and the Euphrates. The majestic ruins of ancient Palmyra are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In 2015, the whole world witnessed the barbaric destruction of the World Cultural Heritage sites in Palmyra. UNESCO condemned the acts of terrorists, calling the destruction of Palmyra’s cultural heritage a war crime and an invaluable loss for humanity. One of the greatest sites included in the World Heritage list is the Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph (II-III centuries AD) – a world-famous architectural structure that was blown up by militants.