Exhibition takes visitors on virtual journey into millennial cities of the Arab world

15 October 2018

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Al-Nuri Mosque, Mosul, Iraq 3-D
© UNESCO

UNESCO is partnering with the Institut du Monde Arabe and ICONEM on the digital exhibition, “Cités millénaires. Voyage virtuel de Palmyre à Mossoul” (“Age Old Cities: A Virtual Journey from Palmyra to Mosul”), which opened at the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris on 10 October 2018, and takes visitors on a virtual journey to four of the most culturally important sites of the Arab world.

The exhibition brings to life the architectural riches of the cities of Mosul (Iraq) and Aleppo (Syrian Arab Republic) as well as the archaeological sites of Palmyra (Syrian Arab Republic) and Leptis Magna (Libya). It offers visitors the opportunity to explore buildings, dwellings and archaeological remains of the sites through 3D virtual reconstructions on giant projections, virtual reality experiences, archival documents and images, as well as videos and testimonies of local populations.

As a partner of the exhibition, UNESCO is proud to make available to the public its exclusive data and the results of its field surveys in Mosul. Since October 2015, UNESCO has systematically documented the impact of the conflict on the heritage of Mosul and its surrounding areas, by carrying out photogrammetric surveys with long-distance drones and detailed photography from the ground. This resulted in the high-resolution global survey of the Old City of Mosul, including the Al Nouri Mosque, the Church of the Clock, the shrine of Nabi Yunus, and the Nineveh archaeological site, achieved thanks to the expertise of the start-up Iconem and the financial support of the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund. This survey will be instrumental for the implementation of the international initiative “ Revive the Spirit of Mosul ”, launched by UNESCO in February 2018 in close cooperation with the Government of Iraq.

By engaging the latest technologies to digitally recreate and revive Mosul and other important cultural sites – three of them inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List - the exhibition makes accessible what is inaccessible for many and raises the awareness of the wider public of the considerable humanitarian cost of conflict on the life of communities.

“Age Old Cities: A Virtual Journey from Palmyra to Mosul”, organized in partnership with UNESCO, is showing at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris from 10 October 2018 to 10 February 2019.