Rebuilding Palmyra virtually: recreation of its former glory in digital space


  • Ahmet Denker Istanbul Bilgi University



virtual archaeology, UNESCO world heritage site (WHS), 3D reconstruction, digital cultural heritage


This paper addresses the role of the digital tools and methods in the preservation of cultural heritage. As the destruction of Palmyra made international headlines, digital tools emerged as a key tool to fight back against the total deletion of the heritage site from memories. Palmyra in Syria had been, with its Corinthian colonnades, theatre and splendidly built temples to ancient gods, source of inspiration and imagination for Western architecture. In this paper, the aim is reviving the lost reality of Palmyra by digitally reconstructing its “ghost images” from rubbles. The paper offers a glimpse of the grandeur and beauty of the ruins of Palmyra, none of which any longer remains in its entirety. 3D models of the most significant structures of Palmyra, including Temple of Bel and Temple of Baalshamin which have been levelled as a result of conflict based vandalism, as well as the Grand Colonnaded Street and the theatre are presented as “ghost images” through reconstructed 3D models. The focus has been in maintaining the accuracy and validity of the visualised data of the relics and environment of Palmyra, as they were once extant. Following the trauma caused by the destruction of Palmyra, these reconstructions revive in our memory the splendour of the city in the Greco-Roman Period.


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Author Biography

Ahmet Denker, Istanbul Bilgi University

Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences


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How to Cite

Denker, A. (2017). Rebuilding Palmyra virtually: recreation of its former glory in digital space. Virtual Archaeology Review, 8(17), 20–30.