Palmyra Ruins Is The Next Disneyland?

Palmyra Ruins Is The Next Disneyland?
Palmyra Alper Çuğun / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Over the past few months, historians and experts of ancient civilizations are in a quandary whether to let UNESCO rebuild the infamous Palmyra Ruins and bring back its past condition.


The iconic Palmyra is an ancient city in Syria that was severely damaged by the so-called Islamic State. Today, experts all over the world, including UNESCO, disagree on what to do with the ruins, which plays an important role in the country’s history and politics.

But according to leading French historian and Syria expert Annie Sartre-Fauriat, who spent years doing research in Syria, the initial idea of UNESCO to rebuild the site with the assistance of Russia will do harm than good to Palmyra, the DW reported.

Sartre-Fauriat fears that the ruins might become another Disneyland if UNESCO pursues its plan to hasten the rebuilding of the site. She’s doubtful whether UNESCO, with the backing of Russia, would be able to rebuild the site soundly. Ultimately, she said, it might end up a bad copy.

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“Instead a creating a bad copy, the money should be used to further excavate the city’s as-yet unexplored areas and bring new historical discoveries to light. That would be more interesting than simply creating a sort of Disneyland. And this isn’t just my opinion, but one shared by many other academics,” she told the DW.

Russia showed interest in backing UNESCO to reconstruct the Palmyra ruins, which is considered a World Heritage site. In fact, the Russian Military has stationed a base in the area and held a concert in the ruins, which Sartre-Fauriat considered obscene.

In an interview with DW, Sartre-Fauriat said that Russia should not meddle and participate in the rehabilitation of the ruins, because first,there are no experts capable of doing the job. Second, from the beginning, Russia has never conducted a study in the area that would make them a reliable partner for UNESCO in the rehabilitation effort.

She said that current director general of UNESCO Irina Bokova’s leaning to tap support from Russia in its effort to rehabilitate the site is political. She said it’s possible that Bokova is using the opportunity to advance her plan to vie for the United Nations director general position. According Sartre-Fauriat, Bokova is considered one of the leading names for the post.

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