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Hermitage museum tour


The exhibition of photographs of Syria, made by a Russian photographer will be open in the Hermitage in April. Don't miss it during your Hermitage museum tour. Along with the photos there will be shown some virtually recovered lost monuments of Palmyra, including the Temple of Bel and the triumphal arch. According to Piotrovsky, a lot of museums are wary of holding exhibitions dedicated to the legacy of Syria. Removal of artifacts from places of their origin remains a sensitive topic. "We could organize a large exhibition of Syrian objects of art and show it around the world, but everyone is always talking about the new colonizers that had again stolen everything" - he says.

The Hermitage is one of the few museums where there is a special gallery dedicated to Palmyra. Check out the room N91 of the Winter Palace displaying "Culture of Palmyra" during your Hermitage museum tour. Its collection includes a Palmyrian Tariff (four stone blocks with a raised text, weighing more than 15 tonnes) and tesserae (badges with images and inscriptions that were used both like lottery tickets and tickets to participate in various activities - community feasts, theatrical performances), all in excellent condition. If these objects "hadn't been taken to St. Petersburg, they would no longer exist," emphasizes Mikhail Piotrovsky.


Engravings depicting Palmyra

According to Mikhail Piotrovsky, engravings depicting Palmyra can help recreate the historic appearance of the city. In the collection of the Hermitage there are kept series of engravings by an unknown artist, depicting the ruins of Palmyra. For the first time these works had been published in 1756 by Robert Sayer, a British trader of printed graphics.

Palmyrian Tariff

TariffOn a six-meter marble slab (137 AD) there are recorded export and import tariffs in Greek and Aramaic. In those days, Palmyra was a crossroads of trade routes between India, Arabia and Iran. In 1881, the scale was found in Syria by a Russian traveler and amateur archaeologist, Prince S.S.Abamelek-Lazarev. Subsequently, the Turkish Sultan gave it as a gift to the Russian emperor, but it reached St. Petersburg only two years later, since it got stuck on the Russian customs. The stele is considered to be one of the oldest extant artifacts from Palmyra.

Palmyra funerary relief of Hairan

The Hermitage bought the limestone funerary relief, made in 189 BC, in 1914. Previously it belonged to the Russian Archaeological Institute in Constantinople.Hairan

The cultural heritage has suffered from endless violence throughout the history, but today, according to Piotrovsky, people begin to lose faith. "The ancient culture was destroyed by the Christians - and only during the Renaissance had regained its revival from what was left, - he says. - And now this understanding of sacredness of culture is being lost everywhere." According to the director of the State Hermitage museum, between St. Petersburg and Palmyra there has always been a spiritual connection. Starting from the XVIII century, the young capital of Russia was called the Northern Palmyra. Both cities "arose in places where cities do not usually appear" (St Petersburg- on a swamp, Palmyra- in the desert). He said that the restoration of the imperial palaces of St Petersburg after the Second World War, carried out thanks to the preserved drawings and other materials, proves that Palmyra can be built anew. "Palmyra is a pure miracle," - he says. 

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