Terrorism and war have brought immeasurable suffering to the people of Syria and made entire towns and cities uninhabitable. The Syrian Heritage Archive Project on which opened an exhibition yesterday in Berlin helps to document cultural objects that have been destroyed and thus to make a small contribution to future reconstruction. The researchers working on the project have created a digital archive of Syrian cultural objects. This is the world’s biggest project of the kind.
“Preservation and Archiving in Times of War”: Exhibition in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Yesterday Minister of State Michelle Müntefering opened the exhibition “The Cultural Landscape of Syria – Preservation and Archiving in Times of War”.
Syria’s rich cultural heritage is an expression of its cultural and religious diversity. The threatening loss of this heritage would also mean the loss of cultural roots.
The Syrian Heritage Archive Project has received funding from the Cultural Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office since 2013 and is a cooperative project between the Museum of Islamic Art, the German Archaeological Institute and the Archaeological Heritage Network.
Syria’s rich culture
The development of the urban lifestyle and the alphabet have their origins in Syria. Aleppo is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Within the framework of the Syrian Heritage Archive Project, the Museum of Islamic Art is committed to cultural preservation in many areas.
The “Aleppo Built Heritage Documentation Project” records in detail the damage done to important historic buildings in the Old City. “Crossroads Aleppo: Our City, Shared Heritage, Our Memory” involves the people of Aleppo and gathers background material on historic buildings in the city. The “Interactive Heritage Map of Syria” collects oral tales and memories from and about Syria.
The Cultural Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office is devoted to preserving cultural heritage worldwide. Foreign Minister Maas considers this work to be very important, because:
The destruction of cultural property is an attack on the heart of civilisation as a whole.