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Russian experts create 3D model of Palmyra to be handed over to Damascus

This model is important for monitoring the condition of various objects and exploring sites

MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. Specialists from the Institute for the History of Material Culture at the Russian Academy of Sciences plan to hand over a unique 3D model of the city of Palmyra to the Syrian government, which could help restore its cultural heritage sites, the Institute’s Deputy Director Natalya Solovyova told TASS.

"We have completed the 3D model, but we are still working on the geographical information system. We plan to hand it over to the Syrian government," Solovyova said.

"The first stage has been completed, the 3D model is ready. It is unique, as no one has ever made such 3D landscape models," she pointed out. "This model is important, first and foremost, for monitoring the condition of various objects, while renovators can use it for exploring sites and also as a working tool," Solovyova stressed adding that Russian specialists needed about two more months before the model could become operational.

The Institute’s director general noted that it had taken about a year to construct the 3D model. According to her, the specialists who worked in Palmyra in 2016, are eager to go back there to explore the cultural heritage sites that were damaged after terrorists had seized the city for the second time. "We would like to go back there to take footage of the damage done during the second seizure, because the data that we have was collected after the city had been liberated for the first time. And now, after exploring the sites, we will be able to say exactly what damage the city suffered after the second seizure - this is the reason why we would like to go there once again," Solovyova explained.

"We will discuss this issue, and if we have an opportunity we will go there again and take footage of the new damage, since apart from explosions, there was also predatory excavation. We still need to assess its scale," she said.

According to Solovyova, Russian experts will continue assisting in the restoration of Palmyra’s historical heritage.

Symbol of civilization

Palmyra is an ancient city located in Syria. It was an important hub along ancient trade routes, particularly the Great Silk Road, in Western Asia. Its heyday stretched from the 1st-3rd century AD, when a number of architectural monuments were built in the city, which are preserved in the desert up to this day.

Palmyra became world famous as the most stunning ancient monument in the 18th century, while regular excavations began there in the 1920s. Artifacts unearthed on the territory of the city and its necropolis were kept in Palmyra’s museum and many other museum collections all over the globe. In the 20th century, the city’s ancient buildings were partly refurbished.

Palmyra’s architectural museum complex is ranked among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Militants of the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia) first captured Palmyra in May 2015. In late March 2016, the Syrian government forces, supported by the Russian Aerospace Force, liberated the city, but nine months later it was retaken by the terrorists. On March 2, 2017, Russian Defense Minister General Sergey Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin that the operation to free Palmyra had been concluded.