A geologist from St Petersburg University to take part in the restoration of Palmyra

Elena Panova, Professor in the Department of Geochemistry at St Petersburg University, will be one of the participants in the reconstruction of historical monuments under UNESCO protection in Palmyra (Syria): the Arch of Triumph; the Temple of Bel; the Temple of Baalshamin; the Agora; the Roman Theatre at Palmyra; and the Caravanserai. The symbolic beginning of the reconstruction was a concert by harpist Alexander Boldachev on the ruins of the arch.

One of the first objects to be restored will be the Arch of Triumph, destroyed during the terrorist bombings in October 2015 by supporters of ISIS, an organisation banned in Russia. The monument will be reconstructed with the help of 3D models of the city created by specialists from Russia.

'In December, my colleagues and I carefully studied the objects that we have to practically rebuild. Now our main task is to estimate the scale of restoration works and create the reconstruction concept', said Elena Panova. As she said, during the week of the business trip, the experts managed to: document natural stone in historical buildings; assess the degree of weathering and destruction of natural stone from which the monuments are made; and find historical quarries for stone extraction.

In March 2022, work will begin on removing the debris from the blast and completing the remaining parts of the site. It is planned that the restoration of the monument will take about two years. The Russian team will be assisted by specialists from Syria.

'We are planning to search for a historic and active quarry where original material for recreating the Arch of Triumph can be found. Whether this is feasible in reality should be answered by architects, archaeologists, engineers, restorers, and geologists. We have to involve a lot of experts. Our scope of work is very large. However, the situation is exacerbated by the fact that the war in Syria is still not over,' added Professor Panova.