As we know, a UNESCO delegation visited Palmyra on May 5, as determined by the April session of the UNESCO Executive Board. The delegation included accredited Permanent Delegates of India, China, Russia, South Africa and other states – some of them members of the Executive Board and the World Heritage Committee – alongside prominent cultural figures and top experts, in particular, Mikhail Piotrovsky, State Hermitage Museum director, Nikolai Makarov, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences Archaeology Institute, and Mounir Bouchenaki, director of the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage. Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky led the Russian delegation.
The delegation saw the historical city centre and held a meeting to evaluate the damage done by ISIS terrorists to that priceless sample of world heritage, and exchange opinions on further team action. A city restoration roadmap will be drawn proceeding from these opinions. Syria’s Culture Minister Issam Khalil, other officials and experts from the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria attended the meeting.
A symphony orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev performed a concert in Palmyra the same day. Dedicated to the city liberation and remembrance of the victims of and fighters against terrorism, it had extensive television coverage.
To carry on its efforts, UNESCO will forward an international expert mission to Palmyra to assess the scope of conservation and restoration work, and determine their methods. The 40th session of the World Heritage Committee, to be held in July, will have a detailed discussion on assistance to Syria to restore its cultural heritage.