Development Cooperation Handbook/Stories/Palmyra, Italian Archaeological Mission

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Aidos in Syria

In Syria now, it is a time of division, violence and suffering. When we were there in November 2010 and in August 2011, we recorded many stories of cooperation and development. Nowadays, only sad and violent stories are narrated about this wonderful country. What then shall we do with these stories we collected in Syria in what now seems to be a different "age" altogether? Well, we decided to re-edit the videos we had made, include them in the Handbook we are developing and share them through the Internet. These videos will help us remember what Syria was before the civil war. And we hope that these stories will help restore trust amongst communities in Syria, and build, amongst those who love this country, the motivation to do whatever they can to restore peace and cooperation.

Preservation and Development
Project implemented by the Government of Syria
Palmyra, Syria , November 2010
Project co-financed by the Ministry for External Affairs, Government of Italy

Located in a Syrian desert oasis halfway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates, the ancient Syrian city of Tadmor (تدمر‎) , or Palmyra, was a vital caravan city for travellers crossing the Syrian desert. It was known as the Bride of the Desert. Palmyra grew extraordinarily in importance during the Roman Empire between the 1st and the 3rd century AD. The prosperity and wealth of the "caravan city", according to the Russian historian Rostovzev, was due to its position along the trade routes. The publication of the volume, "The ruins of Palmyra" edited by Robert Wood and James Dawkins, in 1753, aroused great interest in Europe, especially in the wonderful drawings the Italian architect, Giovanni Battista Borra, made on site during his two weeks tour with the two Englishmen, in 1751.

In 2007, as a consequence of the first agreement between the Università degli Studi of Milan and the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of Damascus (DGAM), a joint Italian-Syrian archaeological mission was formed. Its aim has been is to conduct research in the south-western quarter of Palmyra. This is a central quarter of the ancient city, measuring c.547 x 281 m and c.114.000 m2 wide, delimited by the Agorà, the Diocletian's Walls, the Damascus Transverse Street and the Great Colonnade Street. The mission is also supported by the Ministry for External Affairs of the Government of Italy. The mission has found many important historical evidences that have informed contemporary research on Roman sites. Palmyra has been on the World heritage List of UNESCO since 1980 and continues to enchant the many visitors who, thanks to such cooperation projects, can now easily reach what looks like, at first glance, an immense forest of columns.

“Only big findings make news but the public does not know that these are based on intense research carried on every day wherein we continue to find small evidence. The media never communicates the importance of these smaller missions”, complains an Italian archaeologist.

Video clips

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On YouTube ⇒ Palmyra, Italian Archeological Mission - playlist

Additional Information

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The Italian-Syrian Archaeological Mission

See also

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UNESCO BLUE LOGO]Palmyra - UNESCO World Heritage List

Preservation and Development - Citadel - Damascus
Heritage and Community playlist
Responsible Development - Varanasi playlist
Youth & Heritage - Sweida - playlist
Preservation and Development - MAM - Damascus (8) - playlist

On Wikipedia ⇒ Cultural heritage
On Wikipedia ⇒ List of heritage registers
On Wikipedia ⇒ World Heritage Site
On Wikipedia ⇒ Heritage tourism
Cultural heritage policies in EU
Culture in EU development cooperation
Thematic briefing note on the external cooperation projects in the field of cultural heritage