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Cultural layer in Palmyra almost undamaged, restoration possible — expert

March 11, 2:04 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"Seventy percent of the objects there have survived and that’s why Palmyra can and, what’s more important, must be restored," an expert said

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© EPA/YOUSSEF BADAWI

MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. The cultural layer in Palmyra, recaptured a second time from the Islamic State units at the beginning of March, has survived almost undamaged and the monument should be restored, Alexander Sedov, the director of the Museum of the East in Moscow told a news conference on Friday.

"There were no combat operations inside Palmyra and the cultural layer of the monument has survived almost undamaged," he said. "That’s the most important thing. As for the landmark architectural features, something can restored and something cannot."

One of the objects that cannot be restored in the traditional sense of the word is the Temple of Bel built in 32 B.C. It can only be re-created, Sedov said.

As for the arch that millions of people around the world know from photos in history schoolbooks, destruction has affected the elements of it that were restored by French architects in the 1930’s. The same goes for the famous Tetrapylon, said Sedov who visited Palmyra in 2016.

"There’s no doubt Palmyra should be restored because it has turned into an emblem of struggle with the forces of bigotry and terrorism, the darkest forces existing today and we simply have a duty to do it," he said.

Archeologist Timur Karmov, a research fellow of the Dmitry Likhachov Heritage Institute agreed with Alexander Sedov, saying: "Destructions are considerable this time (compared with the previous seizure of Palmyra by the Islamic State - TASS) but apprehensions were far worse than that."

"The militants have fully destroyed the Tetrapylon and demolished the portico over the stage in the central part of the amphitheater," he said. "The things we mulled previously will undergo revision now but not a major one."

"Seventy percent of the objects there have survived and that’s why Palmyra can and, what’s more important, must be restored," Karmov said stressing the crucial significance of the problem of security.

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