Author: Elsie Buchanan Apr 19, 2016
The "Arch of Triumph" stood in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra for two millenia until the so-called Islamic State knocked it down in October past year.
The Russian-backed Syrian army ousted ISIS fighters from Palmyra in March following a 10-month occupation by the extremists, who destroyed the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel and shrine of Baal Shamin, a dozen of the city's best-preserved tower tombs and the Arch of Triumph dating from around 200 AD.
It was constructed by experts from Oxford's Institute of Digital Archeology (IDA) as an act of solidarity with Syria to raise awareness of the fight to safeguard its ancient treasures.
"Monuments, as embodiments of history, religion, art and science, are significant and complex repositories of cultural narratives", said Roger Michel, director of the IDA.
He said he wanted London to be the first stop on the arch's itinerary because the city had itself been reconstructed after the Blitz of World War II.
"No-one should consider for one second giving terrorists the power to delete such objects from our collective cultural record".
A reconstruction of the 2000 year-old Triumphal Arch from Palmyra Syria is erected in Trafalgar Square in London Monday April 18, 2016. "Antiquities like this belong to all mankind and it is imperative that we all strive to safeguard our common heritage".
Maamoun Abdulkarim, director general of Syria's antiquities and museums, said the recreated arch served as a model for how Palmyra would be restored in what would be a message of peace.
Archaeologists fear the city will never be fully restored to its former glory.
The replica, which cost 100,000 pounds and weighs 12-tonnes, will then travel around the world, visiting New York's Times Square and Dubai, before being taken to Syria.