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Czech National Museum is participating in the restoration of Syria's cultural heritage

by:   Embassy of the Czech Republic in Damascus

At the end of October 2018, the Syrian National Museum in Damascus reopened the first part of its rich exhibition to the public. The Czech National Museum is participating in the restoration of Syria's cultural heritage.
 

The Damascus Museum has made a part of its rich exposition accessible for the first visitors after 7 years of the civil war. The fate of Syria's cultural heritage was seriously threatened after the outbreak of the conflict in 2011, especially after the valuable monuments such as the old center of Aleppo or Palmyra fell into the hands of jihadists. The Syrian government in cooperation with regional museums had been trying to evacuate the most valuable collections into safety places since 2001. Some statues were gradually made accessible to the public in the garden of the Syrian National Museum after pushing rebels from around Damascus in the first half of 2018 and reducing the risk of bombing. In the garden, there was also one of the symbols - the statue of the Lion of Elat from Palmyra, which was damaged by the Islamic state in 2015. The statue was later transported to Damascus and restored with the help of the UNESCO project.

The Czech National Museum has also played a significant role in the process of restoration of the destroyed cultural monuments in Syria.  The project is a part of a larger program of the assistance to war-wounded Syria and Iraq. These include, in particular, the direct humanitarian assistance, the supply of medical supplies, the restoration of the damaged UNESCO's monuments and the preservation of cultural heritage. The Czech National Museum and the Syrian partner signed the Memorandum of Understanding in May 2017. In the first phase, the Syrian National Museum was supported with materials for the restoration and deposition of the archaeological artifacts in Damascus itself. The Czech National Museum has also prepared a follow-up project for conservation and restoration of the Syrian historical artifacts in its restoration workshops in the Czech Republic and, at the same time, to provide training to Syrian partners in Prague. In May 2018, an exhibition of Archeological Heritage of Syria was opened at the National Museum in Prague with the participation of the Director of the Syrian National Museum. The management of the Syrian National Museum highly appreciates the cooperation with the Czech National Museum.