Syria's Palmyra arch, destroyed by IS, recreated in London

Syria's Palmyra arch, destroyed by IS, recreated in London
An imposing to scale replica of Palmyra's Triumphal Arch in Trafalgar Square is surrounded by people after the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and the Executive Director of the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) Roger Michel, unveiled it in London, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. The 5.5m high reconstruction of the 2,000 year old Triumphal Arch from Syria is being installed in the square for three days from Tuesday April 19 until Thursday April 21, to help raise awareness of the importance of historic sites and antiquities as part of World Heritage Week 2016. It will then travel to other cities both inside and outside the Middle East. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

A 2,000-year-old triumphal arch destroyed by the Islamic State group in Syria has risen again—in replica—in London's Trafalgar Square.

The Arch of Triumph in Palmyra formed part of one of the world's most extensive ancient archaeological sites. The ancient , a UNESCO world heritage site, was among Syria's main tourist attractions before the civil war erupted in 2011.

IS militants overran Palmyra in May 2015, demolishing Roman-era monuments including the archway and two large temples dating back more than 1,800 years—and posting videos of their destruction online. Syrian government forces retook the city last month and authorities have begun assessing the damage to its ancient monuments.

Built under the Roman emperor Septimius Severus between A.D. 193 and A.D. 211, the towered over the colonnaded streets of the , which linked the Roman Empire to Persia.

The six-meter (20-foot) Egyptian marble replica—about two-thirds the size of the original—was created by the Institute for Digital Archaeology from photographs of the original site using 3-D imaging technology and computer-aided carving tools.

"When I saw the destruction, I felt like I needed to do something to try and make it right," said Roger Michel, executive director of the Institute for Digital Archaeology. The institute is a joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford and Dubai's Museum of the Future.

Syria's Palmyra arch, destroyed by IS, recreated in London
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, poses for the media after unveiling an imposing scale replica of Palmyra's Triumphal Arch in Trafalgar Square, in London, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. The triumphal arch destroyed by the Islamic State group in Syria was been recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The Arch of Triumph in Palmyra formed part of one of the world's most extensive ancient archaeological sites. The 5.5 meter (18-foot) Egyptian marble replica about two-thirds the size of the original, was created by the Institute for Digital Archaeology using 3-D printing technology. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

"The first thing I thought was, when I saw Palmyra come down, is these folks are censoring history," Michel said.

London Mayor Boris Johnson unveiled the model Tuesday. It will stay in London for three days before traveling to cities including New York and Dubai—and eventually to Palmyra itself.

  • Syria's Palmyra arch, destroyed by IS, recreated in London
    The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, second left, joins the Executive Director of the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) Roger Michel, left, after unveiling an imposing scale replica of Palmyra's Triumphal Arch in Trafalgar Square, in London, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. The triumphal arch destroyed by the Islamic State group in Syria was been recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The Arch of Triumph in Palmyra formed part of one of the world's most extensive ancient archaeological sites. The 5.5 meter (18-foot) Egyptian marble replica about two-thirds the size of the original, was created by the Institute for Digital Archaeology using 3-D printing technology. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
  • Syria's Palmyra arch, destroyed by IS, recreated in London
    The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, gestures after unveiling an imposing scale replica of Palmyra's Triumphal Arch in Trafalgar Square, in London, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. The triumphal arch destroyed by the Islamic State group in Syria was been recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The Arch of Triumph in Palmyra formed part of one of the world's most extensive ancient archaeological sites. The 5.5 meter (18-foot) Egyptian marble replica about two-thirds the size of the original, was created by the Institute for Digital Archaeology using 3-D printing technology. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

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