Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra has been undergoing extensive restoration. Many believe that it might be open to visitors as soon as 2019. Palmyra was once among the most important centres of the ancient world.

It made headlines in 2015 when its stunning ruins were destroyed in the Syrian Civil War. Twice occupied by ISIS, many of its ancient temples, columns, and even the Arch of Triumph were demolished. However, the site has been under the control of the Syrian government since March 2017, and UNESCO has been undertaking major restoration and recovery of the area.

Ruins at Palmyra
Ruins at Palmyra, Syria. On the left is the Temple of Baal Shamin, which was destroyed by ISIS in August 2015. The fort on the hill in the background is Qala’at Ibn Maan, built in the 17th century.

As the governor of the province of Homs, where Palmyra is located, told Sputnik News, “This is the world’s history and it belongs not only to Syria. There are also good offers from the world powers to restore the artefacts and historical value of Palmyra”. Various remnants of statues have even been taken to Damascus. They will be restored with the help of experts from Moscow.

Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra to see tourists again in 2019

Though there may yet be conflict in the region, inhabitants in many areas are returning to everyday life and looking towards the future. Rebuilding efforts are also underway, especially in Aleppo, where much of the historic Old City was destroyed. Hotels here are also reopening, and according to the Times UK, a small number of people are beginning to visit.

The ancient city of Palmyra in Syria
The ancient city of Palmyra in Syria

While there is optimism about welcoming tourists again, it is unlikely to happen soon on a larger scale. Much of the country is still a war zone, and most governments still have warnings against all travel to Syria.

After seven long years of conflict and fighting, it still remains to be seen what the future holds for Syria. Those interested can follow the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the latest updates and travel warnings about the country. You can also read more about the resurgence of tourism in Iran.

 

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