Age-Old Cities, a Virtual Journey From Palmyra to Mosul

Palmyra, Aleppo, Mosul, Leptis Magna: names that resonate like the thousand-year-old symbols of the fabulous heritage of the Arab world. But also as so many martyred sites, disfigured by the madness or rapacity of men, or threatened by their negligence and the insult of time. Here they are resurrected, the time of an exhibition, through a virtual journey and a spectacular immersive staging.


In each of the three vast spaces that structure the exhibition - after Mosul: Aleppo, then the archaeological sites of Leptis Magna and Palmyra brought together in the same room, the visitor will discover a giant projection revealing the current state of the site and then back in time thanks to the virtual images suggesting the original form of emblematic buildings.

At the centre of each space, a circular "dynamic mediation table" makes it possible to apprehend the projected virtual images, locate damaged buildings, neighbourhoods or monuments and reconstruct their history. In parallel, archival images and animated photographs testify to what these places were in the twentieth century and the poignant testimonies of archaeologists, museum curators or simple civilians give a face to those who, at the price of sometimes insane efforts, helped to safeguard this heritage. From the frame of a window or door - the scenography evokes the codes of the Arab city - their interviews come to life with original projections.

Focuses complete the exploration, as close-ups of what was - the multi-confessional Mosul of yesteryear, for example - but also of the future - the discovery of a fabulous 2600 years old Assyrian palace of Nineveh under the ruins of the shrine of Nabi Younis ...


This immersion into world heritage sites is also an awareness of the challenges of preserving fragile treasures, wherever they may be located. And, beyond the Arab world, it is on the evocation of threats hovering over other world heritage sites that the exhibition closes.

curator: Aurélie Clemente Ruiz, scenography and artistic direction: Atelier Sylvain Roca, 3D sourcing and contents: Iconem, graphism: Dépli Design Studio, lights: Reflet, digital engineering and production: Mardi8, films' director: Olivier Brunet, composer: Olivier Lafuma


photos: IMA, Zach Barouti, Sylvain Roca, Depli Design Studio

  • Opening: October 2018
  • Location: Institut du Monde Arabe
  • Area: 1000 m2
  • Production: Institut du Monde Arabe
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