Since 2012, the Syrian civil war has ravaged the city of Aleppo. Bombings and ground warfare have taken a heavy toll not only on the civilian population, but also on the city’s cultural and historical heritage sites. It is estimated that several hundred historical buildings have been damaged or destroyed. Today it remains difficult to assess what has been lost in the destruction and what can be saved.
Thanks to several field operations in 2017, teams from Iconem, a company specialized in the digitization of endangered cultural heritage sites, successfully created 3D models of several major monuments in Aleppo’s historic city center. Besides preserving this cultural heritage in virtual form and facilitating remote analysis, their work also makes the battered vestiges of Syrian architecture accessible to the general public. When allowed to roam, fully immersed, through 3D models of Aleppo’s major monuments, visitors are confronted at every turn with the brutality of the damage inflicted on the city’s historic heart and the beauty of the portions of the monuments that remain intact.
The 3D digital surveys of all of these cultural sites – carried out by the company Iconem, producer of the immersive digital exhibitions ``Eternal Sites``; at the Grand Palais (2016) and ``Old Cities: A Virtual Journey from Palmyra To Mosul``; at the Institut du Monde Arabe (2018) – are not only a valuable scientific tool, but also a mediation and promotional tool for these sites.