#NEWPALMYRA is a community platform dedicated to the virtual remodeling and creative reuse of architecture from the endangered Syrian city of Palmyra. We create 3D models, run workshops, produce exhibitions, and develop tools to engage the global community around Syrian cultural heritage, and build the future #NEWPALMYRA from the past. All of our work is released into the Public Domain under CC0 Licenses to encourage its reuse in creative explorations that we hope will promote cultural understanding.
Work on #NEWPALMYRA was started in Damascus by Syrian-Palestinian open source software developer, free culture advocate, and Creative Commons affiliate Bassel Khartabil in 2005. With a team of artists working with the publisher Al-Aous, he began remodeling the ruins of Palmyra in 3D. The project continued until Bassel’s unlawful detention by the Syrian government on March 15th, 2012. Sadly, this important and prescient work was never published or released from Al-Aous, so much was lost.
The public relaunch and “open-sourcing” of #NEWPALMYRA was undertaken by a global team of Bassel’s supporters in October of 2015 after his “disappearance” and subsequent execution by the Syrian regime, and the capture and destruction of Palmyra by ISIS; making clear that the ruins were a symbolic battleground for control over the Syrian people. #NEWPALMYRA is freeing Palmyra digitally to return agency over this cultural heritage to the Syrian and global communities, following Bassel’s visionary work of transparency, open internet, and free culture for the advancement of the Syrian people.