Date :Sunday, October 21st, 2018 | Time : 13:20 |ID: 74887 | Print

Drones and 3D tech recreate Middle East’s war-torn heritage sites

SHAFAQNA– IconemA French start-up is using drones and 3D technology to recreate digital reconstructions of cultural and historical sites destroyed by conflict in the Middle East.

Hundreds of thousands of photographs of at-risk or destroyed sites such as Palmyra and Aleppo in Syria and Mosul in Iraq have been taken.

Using algorithms and artificial intelligence, the photos were processed to produce the 3D reconstructions of the sites.

The start-up hopes that their digital reconstructions will be used when the time comes to rebuild war-torn cities.

Sites destroyed in the old city of Aleppo during the seven-year-old Syrian conflict include the Umayyad mosque, the historic citadel and the Al-Madina Souq.

Iconem has also documented Libya’s impressive ancient amphitheatre built in the 7th century BC Leptis Magna, which has largely escaped damage from conflict but risks damage from urban development, vandalism and natural decay.

The group have teamed up with UNESCO World Heritage to contribute to their project to “Revive the Spirit of Mosul”, which aims to help plan the reconstruction of the Iraqi city heavily bombed during the fight against its three-year-long militant occupation, Euronews reported.

An exhibition of the digital reconstructions opened on Wednesday (October 10) at the Arab World Institute called ‘Age Old Cities, A virtual Journey from Palmyra To Mosul’.

Iconem has also teamed up with Ubisoft, a French video game company, to create an immersive virtual reality experience from the digital reconstructions, which visitors to the Arab World Institute in Paris can try out, sharjah24 noticed.

Daesh overran large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014, declaring a so-called “caliphate” there, but has since lost most of that to various offensives. Since the terrorists seized large swathes of land, the two countries’ historical heritage has been under threat. The group has destroyed hundreds of mosques, shrines and sufi lodges as well as temples from ancient religions and churches.

Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests.

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