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Replica of Syrian Landmark Destroyed by ISIS on View in City Hall Park

By Irene Plagianos | September 19, 2016 5:25pm
 The 30,000-pound replica of the Triumphal Arch of Palmyra.
The 30,000-pound replica of the Triumphal Arch of Palmyra.
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Institute for Digital Archeology

LOWER MANHATTAN —  The replica of ancient landmark destroyed by ISIS fighters in Syria is standing in New York City as a reminder of what's been lost.

A 30,000-pound recreation of the Triumphal Arch of Palmyra, a 2,000-year-old Roman structure, was unveiled in City Hall Park Monday, where it will stay throughout the week, timed with the meeting of the General Assembly at the United Nations, organizers said.

The arch was unveiled Tuesday in City Hall Park. (Courtesy of Institute for Digital Archeology)

The 25-foot tall replica was created using digital models, pieced together with scores of images taken by visitors and archeologists before ISIS reduced the ancient site to rubble last year. Computer-controlled machinery was then able to carve the model into Egyptian marble, creating what is said to be a "precise replica" of the arch.

The recreation is the work of the Institute for Digital Archaeology, a joint effort from scientists at Oxford, Harvard University and Dubai's Museum of the Future, to draw attention to the devastation of historic sites in war-torn areas like Syria and Iraq.

The reconstruction is meant to "to provide an optimistic and constructive response to a destructive threat to history and heritage," said Roger Michel, the IDA's executive director. "No one should consider for one second giving terrorists the power to delete such objects from our collective cultural record. When history is erased in this fashion, it must be promptly and, of course, thoughtfully restored."

Guides will be on hand at City Hall Park to discuss the significance of the structure with visitors, organizers said.

The arch's display in New York is part of its traveling project — the replica was displayed in London's Trafalgar Square last April and will head to Dubai after City Hall Park.