Syria – Palmyra artist reconstructs model that highlights the city’s landmarks


Location: Aleppo – Syria

Language: Arabic

Duration: 00:04:21

Source: A24 subscribers

Restrictions: A24 clients

Dateline: 11/05/2022


When ISIS invaded Palmyra in 2015, it was intent on obliterating the city’s cultural and historic identity by destroying its historic landmarks, stealing them to be smuggled and sold. Artist Ali Saleh Taha who is from Palmyra and is well-versed in the city’s history, worked many years with his father restoring the city landmarks in order to preserve the city aesthetics and enable future generations to recognize all that is precious about the city. The artist is designing a model representing the city’s historic landmarks including Monumental Arch, Temple of Bel, The Roman Theatre and The Great Colonnade. The Artist has years of experience in restoration, which allowed him to learn the finest details of the historic landmarks and represent them in a previously constructed model that took him 11 years to complete. The previous model was destroyed in the selling that took people’s lives and demolished the city. The artist lost four of his children in the shelling, which forced him to leave the city he loved. Artist Ali is attempting to reconstruct the model that highlights the city’s historic landmarks but financial struggles prevent him from obtaining the necessary materials and tools that he concocts himself sometimes in order to carry on with the project. His health does not permit him to work too many hours, but he has worked day and night in order to accomplish his dream of finishing this model that lets him feast his eyes on the beauty of Palmyra even if it is only a miniature version of the real thing.


Soundbite (Mohammd Taha – The artist’s cousin):

            “The artist lost four children during the time of the Syrian civil war, he only has one child left. The artist was born with hearing loss and speech impairment.”

Soundbite (Mohammd Taha – The artist’s cousin):

            “Artist Ali used to work with his father Saleh Taha in landmark restoration. Most of the landmarks in Palmyra were restored by him and his father. Artist Ali quit restoration after a while to do some other work. He designed a model of the historic landmarks in Palmyra city that he worked on for 11 years. Unfortunately, the model was destroyed after ISIS invaded the city and the civil war started. His dream was shattered when the area was shelled and attacked by ISIS”

Soundbite (Mohammd Taha – The artist’s cousin):

            “After leaving the city, artist Ali started reconstruction of the Palmyra model with the encouragement of some friends. He constructed a model of the Monumental Arch as a sample, which was a success so he decided to construct a model of the entire city. The current model took 8-10 months of continuously working day and night.”

Soundbite (Mohammd Taha – The artist’s cousin):

            “Artist Ali struggled financially and could not obtain necessary material and tools that he had to concoct them with little resources. He went through many struggles to construct this model.”

Soundbite (Mohammd Taha – The artist’s cousin):

            “There is still work to be done on the model, there are 10 parts that need to be constructed but he can’t due to financial struggles.”

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