On August 18, 2015, Khaled Al-As’ad, the former director of antiquities and museums in Palmyra, Syria, was murdered by Daesh for trying to protect the ancient city’s cultural heritage. Eighty-three years old, he had dedicated his life to the preservation of one of the world’s most important archaeological sites.
Publicly beheaded for refusing to reveal the location of artifacts he had helped to hide, Khaled al-As’ad’s execution shocked and horrified the world. Following his death, Daesh set about destroying many of Palmyra’s monumental ruins, including the Temple of Bel and the Tetrapylon. In doing so, irreparable damage was caused to a masterpiece of human ingenuity and one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world.
The exhibition aims to increase awareness about the city’s prominence in the ancient world and its long history as a vibrant multi-cultural trading center.
“By reminding audiences why Palmyra is important, the exhibition also shares a message of hope that one day the city will be rebuilt by its people, marking a ‘return’ to Palmyra.”