SITES ETERNELS at Grand Palais by david gil


In 2001, the monumental world heritage sculptures known a Buddhas of Bamiyan dating from the 4th and 5th century were voluntarily destroyed by current conflict in Syria and Iraq. Since many other Mesopotamian archeological treasured historical sites have become collateral damage of contemporary war. To preserve collective heritage of humanity Jean Luc Martinez, President Director of the Louvre Museum, commissioned photogrammetry and 3d captures of four sites located in sensible areas.

SITES ETERNELS, eternal places, is the name of the exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris where visitors will virtually discover Khorsabad, Palmyre, Ameyyad mosque and the Krak des Chevaliers. Emblematic patrimony of humanity embodying universal values currently under large scale eminent threat. “When culture is threatened by violence, we must respond with more culture, more knowledge … beyond our cultural differences.” Irina Bokova, general director of UNESCO.

Labeling everything pre-Islamic as profane idolatry, the extremist are “erasing the legacy of a ruined nation”. This targeted destruction of millennia old antiquities in the birthplace of human civilization is a human tragedy. For the Smithsonian Mag the only equivalent to this sort of archeological annihilation was executed by the byzantine iconoclast in the eight and ninth centuries. But they targeted contemporary artifacts. Today it is irreplaceable buildings and artworks over 2000 years old or more that are being targeted.

It is undeniable that this exhibition honors local identity and collective memory. It is also a meaningful remembrance of retired scholar Khaled al Asaad who gave his life for protecting world heritage in Palmyre.

Exhibition open to the public from December 14th to January 9th. Free entrance. Open from 10h-20h. Wednesdays opened until 22h. Closed on Tuesdays.  Closed Sunday December 25th