Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Edinburgh World Heritage offers support for the restoration of Syria’s urban heritage

Edinburgh World Heritage experts offer to support Syria

Aug 26, 2016

Responding to a call from Prof Maamoun Adbulkarim, Director-General of Antiquities and Museums, Arab Republic of Syria, Edinburgh World Heritage has offered to provide support towards the restoration of several of Syria’s World Heritage sites, including the ancient cities of Aleppo, Damascus, and Bosra. Support will be provided in the form of on-the-ground expertise and knowledge exchange in urban heritage conservation and restoration as soon as hostilities have ceased.

In addition to the well-publicised damage to the ancient site of Palmyra, many of Syria’s urban World Heritage sites have also been damaged through shelling, looting and military occupation. Syria is home to several of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities which form a unique record of the development of human civilisation. In many cases, these World Heritage sites formed the backdrop to the daily lives of the Syrian people before the havoc caused by the conflict.

Edinburgh World Heritage, through its international programme, has provided support and consultancy to over 20 cities around the world over the past 10 years including Warsaw and the Latin American Cities Network, while also bringing its learning from these places back to Edinburgh.

The announcement was made at an Edinburgh World Heritage lecture on Thursday night in which Professor Abdulkarim talked about the appalling destruction of priceless monuments in many parts of the country as well as the efforts led by his team to conceal important museum collections across Syria from harm. He called upon the international community to redouble its efforts to help Syria protect, and in places rebuild, its heritage for the benefit of all humanity.

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage commented: ‘Syria is home to some of the world’s most important archaeology, monuments and ancient cities which bear rich testimony to the development of human civilisation. Edinburgh leads the world in community-based heritage conservation within dynamic urban environments, and stands ready to help the communities of Syria conserve and restore its urban heritage’.

Brian Lang, Chairman of Edinburgh World Heritage added: ‘the restoration of the archaeological and cultural treasures of Syria must become a key priority for the international heritage community over the coming years. It is entirely appropriate that Edinburgh World Heritage stands ready to assist in this crucial work'.

Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim, Director-General of Antiquities and Museums, Arab Republic of Syria commented: ‘We welcome Edinburgh World Heritage’s offer of help. Syria’s heritage belongs to its people, and to the people of the world. I look forward to building closer ties with the people of Edinburgh in the future’.


Edinburgh World Heritage

Edinburgh World Heritage is an independent charity with the aim of ensuring the city’s World Heritage status is a positive force for good that benefits everyone. Our mission is to connect people to their heritage in everything we do – whether through the conservation of historic buildings, delivering improvements to the public realm, or engaging people directly with the rich heritage of their city.



Nicholas Hotham, Head of Advocacy and Outreach, direct line 0131 220 7735 or mobile 07470 699688




Al Zirb Souq after shelling, Ancient City of Aleppo World Heritage Site, Syria

Photo: Directorate General of Syrian Antiquities and Museums


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