Arch of Triumph - Palmyra, Syria - Historical Gates
17-03-2018    213 times
Arch of Triumph

Arch of Triumph,Palmyra

The Arch of Triumph, also called the Monumental Arch, was a Roman ornamental archway built in the 3rd century in Palmyra, Syria, during the reign of the Roman emperor Septimius Severus. It linked the main street of the Colonnade and the Temple of Bel, and was meant to unite the southern and central parts of the Colonnade. It consists of two façades angled apart from one another, as its location marks a change of 30° in the orientation of the street between the Tetrapylon and the majestic temple of Bel.

Sometimes the Arch of Triumph of Palmyra is erroneously referred to as ‘Hadrian's Arch’, although Emperor Hadrian had been dead for over half a century when the arch was built. However, according to some other sources, the arch was built as a triumphal arch to commemorate the Roman victories over the Parthians.

triumphal arch of palmyra
ISIS militants blew up the iconic triumphal arch of Palmyra,
remains of the Roman era of about two thousand years.
triumphal arch of palmyra
Arch of Triumph in the eastern section of Palmyra's colonnade

The arch lasted from 193 to 211 AD and was restored in the 1930s. During the 20th and early 21st centuries, when the ruins of Palmyra became a centre of tourist attraction, the arch became one of the most interesting sites of the city. The Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, with its double façade, marking a 30° bend between the eastern and central sections of the Great Colonnade, is somewhat an unusual structure from an architectural viewpoint. Flanked by a smaller opening on either side, it consisted of a large gateway in the centre. The arch was decorated with ornate stone carvings, which include reliefs depicting plants and even geometrical designs. Similar types of ornamentation are also found on the other arches built during the reign of Severus, elsewhere in the Roman Empire, such as at Leptis Magna in modern-day Libya.

triumphal arch of palmyra
triumphal arch of palmyra

The Arch of Triumph in Palmyra is considered by UNESCO as one of the most lavishly adorned monuments in the city and its relief works are regarded as an outstanding example of Palmyrene art. Unfortunately, the huge structure of the Arch of Triumph in Palmyra has been erased from the face of the earth by a group of frenzied terrorists. In the month of May. 2015, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and the Levant captured Palmyra and on 4 October it was reported that the nerd extremists had been blown up the age old arch with dynamite. The video footage released on 8 October showed that half of the structure was completely destroyed, while the other half remained standing. However, by the time the Syrian Army recaptured Palmyra in March 2016, it was evident that actually very little of the arch remained standing. The mindless destruction of the historical monument was condemned by the Office of the President of Syria, as well as by the director general of UNESCO. As per the United Nations, the destruction of the monument clearly proved that ISIL was actually terrified of history and culture. On the part of the ISIS, it was a mad attempt to erase the past — and profit from the illicit sale of the leftovers.

triumphal arch of palmyra
triumphal arch of palmyra
triumphal arch of palmyra
The monumental Arch of Triumph in Palmyra

It was declared in March 2016 by Maamoun Abdelkarim, the director of antiquities, Syria, that using the existing remains of the ancient structures and following the process of anastylosis, which was prevalent in ancient Greece, the monumental arch, along with the temple of Bel, and the temple of Baalshamin, will be rebuilt. It was further affirmed by a Syrian official that the reconstruction of the arch would not be difficult, since many of its original stones still survive.

triumphal arch of palmyra
The monumental Arch of Triumph in Palmyra

The majestic arch and the great Colonnade Accordingly, aided by the photographs of the original arch, 3D imaging technology and computer-aided carving tools, a six metre replica of the central part of the majestic arch was carved out of Egyptian marble by the Britain's Institute for Digital Archaeology. The replica was installed in Trafalgar Square, London for display and after three days, moved to New York City in USA, for the same purpose. It will be displayed in some other important cities, before being sent to Syria.

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Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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