A group of Syrian artists living in Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp have got together to pool their skills and resources and build models of their country’s historical landmarks that have been lost to the war.
In an interview with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Mahmoud Hariri, an art teacher and painter from Syria, explained: “This is a way for them not to forget. As artists, we have an important role to play. A lot of what we know about ancient civilizations or prehistoric people is preserved through their art—Egyptian hieroglyphs or cave paintings.” The replicas are created using whatever materials the artists have on hand—from clay and rock to kebab skewers and discarded wood. Despite the makeshift fabrication, the resulting models are beautiful in their ability to symbolize a peoples’ determination.
The Citadel of Aleppo, built in the 13th century, and located in one of the oldest cities in the world. Once a popular tourist site, it was then converted to a station used by combatants after fighting broke out in Syria in 2012. It has since been bombed several times.
A replica of the statue of Ayyubid Sultan Saladin, a military and political leader famous for leading the Muslim opposition to the European Crusaders in the 12th century. It remains in the city of Damascus, which has not been as heavily damaged yet.
The Deir ez-Zor suspension bridge was built in 1927 for pedestrians to cross over the Euphrates River in north-eastern Syria. It was destroyed by shelling in 2013.
The Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo, built between the 8th and 13th century remains a famous holy site. Said to be one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world, it served as a key battle ground in the Syrian conflict before being destroyed by bombings in 2013.
A replica of the Norias of Hamas, a 66-foot water wheel built along the Orontes River over 750 years ago; used to lift pots of water to higher elevation by making use of the power generated by the current
All images via Christopher Herwig/UNHCR.