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Palmyra arch

Digital re-creations bringing back cultural heritage lost to war and geopolitical conflict

Arch of Palmyra

Syria is home to some of the oldest cultural wonders in human history. The looting of artefacts and the destruction of ancient architectural structures threaten the country’s rich cultural identity.

Since 2011, most Syria’s archaeological sites have been looted. Stolen objects have been smuggled into neighbouring countries, despite their efforts to combat the illegal trade in works and artefacts that end up in antique markets. The rapidly increasing online sale of these objects makes tracking difficult. 

The Triumphal Arch of Palmyra was a large structure linking the central and eastern parts of the great colonnade running through the city. Historians believe it was built during the reign of Septimius Severus, between the late 2nd and early 3rd century AD. The arch was renovated in the 1930s only to be almost completely destroyed by ISIS militias in 2015.

The arch of Palmyra has been recreated virtually by Arc/k to give the visitor a sense of the majestic grandeur of the arch that has become the symbol of rebirth, reconstruction and conservation of works belonging to the heritage of humanity and the history of civilisation.

Through the process of collecting crowdsourced creative commons images online and images directly donated to The Arc/k Project by scholars from their existing historical archives, and by individual photographers, a team of photogrammetry specialists and artists have been able to achieve 3D models and interactive virtual and augmented reality experiences of The Arch of Triumph, The Temple of Bel, the Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma’ani Castle, and the interior of the Roman Theater at Palmyra.

In the web object and AR effect provided here you can gain a small glimpse into the scale and grandeur of this piece of ancient architecture, as well as see how it was reconstructed from hundreds of photographs taken from dozens of positions around the arch. When superimposed with advanced software, these photographs map out a three dimensional object as a cloud of points that can then be converted into the 3D model that you see here.

Arch of Palmyra

Destroyed by ISIS militias in 2015, it has been faithfully virtually rebuilt using modern technology.


II-III century AD 


15mt tall, 11 tons 


Palmyra, Siria

Augmented reality

You can try the effect at home, just follow the instructions:

  1. Make sure you have Instagram installed on your phone
  2. Open the camera or an app to scan the QR code (if the QR code is not an option for you, use the link)
  3. Enjoy the experience and share it