Rmn-Grand Palais and the Musée du Louvre are working together, under the distinguished patronage of UNESCO, to present a free exhibition that allows an exploration or the rediscovery of important archaeological sites that are now inaccessible: Khorsabad, Palmyra, the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and Kerak Castle, Universal Heritage sites that are now specifically under threat from conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
This exhibition is organised by Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais and the Musée du Louvre, in collaboration with Iconem.
Four sites in danger
The Eternal Sites exhibition allows you to immerse yourself in four of these archaeological sites: the city of Palmyra, the Krak des Chevaliers, the Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, and the site of Khorsabad, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Carte de géolocalisation de quatre sites éternels by Rmn-Grand PalaisRmn-Grand Palais
In March 2001, the world watched with dismay as the giant statues of Buddha in Bayiman (Afghanistan) were deliberately destroyed. In 2015, the site of Palmyra (Syria) suffered extensive destruction, and other major archaeological sites in the Middle East — that had borne witness to brilliant civilizations — have since been threatened by conflict, looting, and demolition. They are, as a result, inaccessible.
Sites Éternels. L'équipe Iconem dirigeant un drone. (2015-10-12) by Photo IconemRmn-Grand Palais
However, thanks to new technology, the remains can be digitally recreated using 3D maps. In spite of the war, we can therefore pass on these cultural jewels to future generations.
The archaeological complex of Khorsabad is located in northern Iraq, around 15km from Mosul. It was here in 713 BCE that the great Assyrian king Sharrou-ken founded his new capital Dûr-Sharrukin, the "fortress of Sargon".
The site of Palmyra is home to the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural and commercial centers of the ancient world. Situated halfway between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean, it was a crossing point on the route linking the East and West. At the crossroads of several civilizations, its architecture combines Greco-Roman techniques with local traditions.
The Great Umayyad Mosque
The Great Umayyad Mosque is located in the center of Damascus, the capital of Syria. It is remarkable both for its architecture and for the sumptuous decor of mosaics on a gold background. They represent fantastical looking towns surrounded by luscious vegetation.
The Krak des Chevaliers
The Krak des Chevaliers is a fortified castle in the west of Syria. It is considered to be the best preserved example of the development of Middle-Eastern military architecture from the time of the crusades.
We would like to thank all the people who have contributed to the construction of this journey through "Eternal Sites" and those who have given us valuable time and information as well as permission to reproduce their documentation.