Aid & Development

The restoration of archaeological sites in Raqqa after ISIS destruction

Syria

Vision Organization, a civil society organisation, is renovating what is regarded as the most important monuments in the city of Raqqa.

The Antiquities Committee of the Raqqa Civil Council has been implementing projects to restore the cultural heritage damaged by ISIS militants during the occupation of the city by the terrorist group between 2014-2017. The Committee has been concentrating its efforts on archaeological sites that include Raqqa’s Ancient Wall, the Ancient Mosque, and the Palace of The Ladies. 

The city is home to an archaeological museum, which dates back to 1879. Around three-quarters of the museum was damaged by ISIS and militants belonging to the group stole about 4,000 pieces of antiquities that were kept in the museum.

Raqqa is also home to numerous ancient brick-clad furnaces. A team of 11 specialists has been dispatched to restore these structures. The bricks produced in the Euphrates Valley are exactly the same as the original bricks used during the construction of the city’s ancient monuments and buildings. The revival of the ancient brick-making craft will create an authentic and nostalgic appearance to the city for its residents returning from displacement.

In addition, Raqqa’s 5-km-long Ancient Wall is one of the most damaged sites in the city. Furthermore, the Abbasid monuments in the city were destroyed, including al-Mansur Mosque and the Palace Of The Ladies, which both date back to 722. However, these landmarks did not receive the required attention because of the lack of financial support for the Civil Council’s plans to restore the city’s historical heritage.

The local municipality in Raqqa, known as the Raqqa Civilian Council, has been leading reconstruction efforts in the city following the defeat of ISIS in October 2017. The restoration of the city’s infrastructure, including its roads and energy supplies, was amongst the first priorities for the Council. With many of the city’s roads now cleared of debris and declared safe to open by the Council, it has now turned its attention to the rebuilding of the city’s cultural heritage.

Image: Al Hurra