The Russian and Syrian governments announced that they are moving on to the next stage in reconstructing the ancient temple of the pagan god Ba’al in Palmyra. If successful, the project will necessarily mark the third incarnation of the Roman Victory Arch of Palmyra which an ancient Jewish source states must fall and be rebuilt three times before the arrival of the Messiah.
On Wednesday, the Syrian Trust for Development, Directorate-General for Antiquities and Museums and the Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences signed an agreement to start the second phase of the project for restoring the Arch of Triumph that stood outside of an ancient pagan Temple in Palmyra, Syria.
“The tripartite joint agreement signed Wednesday (Oct 19th) founds for the next stage represented in rebuilding the Arch of Triumph after the end of the first stage funded by the Syrian Trust for Development”, the Director General of Antiquities and Museums, Dr. Nazir Awad, said in a statement to SANA reporter.
For her part, Director of the Institute for the History of Material Culture at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Natalia Solovyova, indicated that the project to restore the Arc is one of the most important symbolic projects in the world, so all concerned parties were involved in it to get the best result.
Restoration work began in April 2021 after a memorandum of understanding was reached between the Syrian Ministry of Culture and the Association Stone Industry of Russia. In 2019, the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg announced plans to restore the site in conjunction with the Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Syria’s Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM).
The project will also be under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra located about 135 miles north of Damascus were a huge tourist attraction, drawing 105,000 visitors a year until the devastating civil war broke out in Syria in 2011.
The temple and much of the site were destroyed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2015. The Monumental Arch, a centerpiece of the site that was mostly destroyed, was built during the reign of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in about 200 CE. It is estimated that only 30-40% of the stones in the arch remain.
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