6 UNESCO Cultural Sites Virtually Rebuilt in Gifs

Budget Direct and NeoMam Studios, a creative studio based in the UK, have created a series of animated gifs restoring 6 UNESCO cultural sites and showcasing how these ruins would have looked like if they had been preserved. Bringing to life endangered sites, the project includes the recently destroyed ruins of Palmyra in Syria and Hatra in Iraq, demolished by ISIS in 2015.

Drawing attention to sites at risk, significant to “all the peoples of the world”, the project aims to globalize information and give everyone the opportunity to witness these spaces virtually. In fact, six ruined sites were digitally restored to their former glory, through gifs. According to the developers of the initiative, “world heritage sites exist in constant danger of degradation or destruction. From militants to motorists, earthquakes to urbanization, these meaningful landmarks face both human-made and natural threats”. In this series of GIFs, sites in Libya, Syria, Panama, Micronesia, Israel, and Iraq are rebuilt and restored.

The project started with in-depth research around sites that figure on the World Heritage in Danger list. Focusing on man-made sites comprising few standing elements, the team worked with architects Jelena Popovic and Keremcan Kirilmaz, and industrial designer Erdem Batirbek to research and illustrate these intricate reconstructions.

Check below the gifs for:

  • Hatra in Iraq: the capital of the first Arab kingdom built between the 3rd-2nd century BCE
  • Leptis Magna in Libya: the third most important Roman city in Africa
  • Palmyra in Syria: an endangered heritage, destroyed during the war in Syria
  • Portobelo-San Lorenzo in Panama: ports built in the 1590s by the Spanish crown
  • Nan Madol in the Federated States of Micronesia: artificial isles built between 1200 and 1500
  • Old City of Jerusalem: threatened by rapid urbanization

Image gallery

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