Russia to design virtual tour of Palmyra before ISIS-inflicted damage

Russia to design virtual tour of Palmyra before ISIS-inflicted damage

Russian archeologists plan to produce in 2017 a virtual tour of the antique compound of monuments in Palmyra before destruction of the latter by units of the ISIS terrorists in 2015, the Deputy Director of the St Petersburg-based Institute for the History of Material Culture, Natalya Solovyova, said.

The tour will be based on the results of an aerial photographic survey that Russian topographers did during an expedition to Palmyra in September 2016.

Results of the survey have already made it possible to produce a 3D model of Palmyra that embraces all the surviving and damaged monuments of antiquity. The researchers will augment it with the data from previous research efforts and the attempts of restore the city’s unparalleled monuments undertaken in the 20th century. The eventual result will come in the form of a dynamic geo-information system and geo-referenced 3D architectural models of objects, TASS reports.

According to Solovyova, this effort is fully unique and it presumes that "isolated and scattered facts on three centuries of research in the ancient city and on its current conditions will be put together on a single platform for the first time ever."

The virtual tour is part and parcel of the efforts to create the geo-information system and its designers name specialists as the prime target audience, yet it is not ruled out that it will be accessible for the general public at one of Syria’s museums after the Russian Academy of Sciences hands it over to the Syrian government.