Monumental Arch of Palmyra

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The Monumental Arch, also called the Arch of Triumph (قوس النصر) or the Arch of Septimius Severus, was a Roman ornamental archway in Palmyra, Syria. It was built in the 3rd century during the reign of emperor Septimius Severus.

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Its ruins later became one of the main attractions of Palmyra until it was destroyed by the ISIS in 2015. Most of its stonework still survives and there are plans to rebuild it using anastylosis.

The Monumental Arch was built sometime during the reign of Emperor Septimius Severus, which lasted from 193 to 211 CE; it linked the main street of the Colonnade and the Temple of Bel. The arch was meant to integrate the southern and central parts of the Colonnade as its location marks a change of 30° in the orientation of the street between the Tetrapylon and the Temple of Bel, so to solve this problem the arch incorporated two façades angled apart from one another.



The Monumental Arch was unusual from an architectural viewpoint, since it had a double façade, masking a 30° bend between the eastern and central sections of the Great Colonnade. The arch consisted of a large gateway in the centre flanked by a smaller opening on either side.

The arch was decorated with ornate stone carvings, including reliefs depicting plants or geometrical designs. These were similar to those found on other arches built during Severus' reign elsewhere in the Roman Empire, such as at Leptis Magna in modern-day Libya. The reliefs on the arch were described by UNESCO as "an outstanding example of Palmyrene art," and they make it one of the most lavishly adorned monuments in the city.



The historic Roman era arch was destroyed by the ISIS using dynamite. Footage released on 8 October showed that half of the structure was still standing, but by the time of the recapture of Palmyra by the Syrian Army in March 2016, very little of the arch remained standing. Restoration of the Arch will begin on November 12, 2021.



Trafalgar Square Replica
Using 3D photos and computer guided stonecutters, researchers recreated the Triumphal Arch destroyed by the ISIS. According to Lauren Turner at the BBC, Britain's Institute for Digital Archaeology, a joint venture between Harvard, Oxford and Dubai's Museum of the Future, used 3D images to recreate a three-quarter scale model of the arch from 12-tons of Egyptian marble.

The arch is scheduled to remain in Trafalgar Square for three days before traveling to New York and Dubai. Next year, it will be placed in Palmyra near the location of the original arch, which was built by the Romans.


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