Age old cities

A virtual journey from Palmyra To Mosul
  • 10 October 2018 to 10 February 2019
Age old cities

The Arab World Institute invites you to a major exhibition that uses the most recent digital techniques to give life to great sites in the Arab world that are threatened or have been destroyed.

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© FDD Iconem / MAFL / DOA

Mosul, Aleppo, Palmyra, and Leptis Magna: the names resonate as symbols of a mythical ancient heritage and of brilliant civilizations, but also as so many martyred sites, disfigured by recent conflicts and the madness of a few fanatics.

Developed in collaboration with the start-up Iconem, in partnership with UNESCO and Ubisoft, the exhibition combines giant-screen projections, virtual reality experiences, archival documents and images, as well as videos and testimonials from local populations.

It invites visitors on a journey through space and time: into the glorious history of these places, into a recent past marked by destruction, and into a future that the prospect of rehabilitation allows us to imagine with hope.

The aim of the exhibition is to immerse the public in the splendors of these major centers of world heritage, but also to raise awareness about the stakes involved in preserving and protecting these precious and fragile riches.

Alep D.R.
Bab al-Faraj, Alep, Syrie AKTC/Michel Ecochard
Leptis Magna Mossoul © Iconem
Le théâtre de Leptis Magna, Libye FDD ICONEM / MAFL / DOA

Four major sites emblematic of the Arab world structure the visit:

Mosul, in Iraq, boasts the site of the ancient city of Nineveh with its Neo-Assyrian vestiges, but also the tomb of the prophet Jonah, its old city, and the Great Mosque of Al-Nuri with its leaning minaret: visitors will be able to explore this ancient city recently taken back from the Islamic State.

Aleppo, in Syria, where Muslim empires from the Umayyads to the Ottomans succeeded each other, constructing architectural jewels: its souks but also its Great Mosque and its citadel allow visitors to discover not an archaeological site but an entire urban area of unrivalled heritage.

Palmyra, in Syria, the Pearl of the Desert, is a mythical Greco-Roman site that was recently the victim of major destruction that shocked the entire world. By recreating its vestiges and presenting the exceptional rescue work being done by archeologists in the field, the IMA is demonstrating how important preserving such vestiges is for humanity.

Leptis Magna, an extraordinary site in Libya founded by the Phoenicians and the jewel of the Mediterranean in the third century CE,  was known as the African Rome. The IMA offers a stroll among the most exceptional structures of this vast site.

The presentation of these places recalls that the heritage of the Middle East is, in its essence, multicultural and multi-religious, at the center of exchanges among three continents, and that it is part of the universal heritage of all humanity. It is part of the mission of the IMA to promote that wealth and diversity, which some currently see as a target.

Alongside the exhibition

Guided visits

FromOctober 10 to December 30

Every day at 2.30 pm and 4.00 pm
For the composed groups
Information and reservation : 01 40 51 38 45/39 54


Creative workshops for parents and children

Age 6 and up

The Citadel of Aleppo 
Visit of the exhibition followed by the creation of a model of the Citadel of Aleppo.
Information and reservations: 01 40 51 38 14


Writing workshop for adults

From 15 November to 20 December

How to tell a story from different points of views?
Sessions led by Françoise Khoury.
Information and reservations: 01 40 51 38 14


Extraordinary forum
Heritage in peril

Thursday11 October from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

An evaluation of the condition of the historic sites of four countries affected by repeated conflicts, this forum will be an opportunity for meetings among specialists from the countries in question, with the goal of valorizing heritage.

With: Jean-Luc Martinez, Jack Lang, Audrey Azoulay, Tom Kaplan, Yves Ubelmann, Aurélie Clemente-Ruiz, Vincent Michel, Mohamed Fallos, Mohamed Fakroun, Hafed Walda, Claude Sintès, Ezeddin Ahmad Omar Fagi, Marylène Barret, Fatima al-Baydani Alzawiya, Jérémie Schiettecatte, Jean-Claude David, Faisal Jaber, Charles Personnaz, Pascal Maguesyan, Guillaume de Beaurepaire, Nada Al Hassan.


Organized in partnership with the Louvre and in collaboration with UNESCO, Œuvre d’Orient, and the French Archeological Mission in Libya.


Age old cities late-night opening

Friday9 November  from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m

In collaboration with Ubisoft, we offer you an opportunity to dive into the adventure of a virtual journey to the heart of these Ancient Cities during an exceptional late-night opening: explore Ancient Egypt through the Discovery Tour Mode of Assassin’s Creed and live incredible virtual reality experiences in a festive atmosphere. The extended opening will be followed by a night of electronic music with Arabic Sound System, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Free entry for those under 26, number of places limited.

The night continues in music with a new electro party with Arabic Sound System
from 11 pm to 5 am


In collaboration with ICONEM and in partnership with l’UNESCO 


L’institut du monde arabe remercie les partenaires scientifiques du projet :


L’Institut du monde arabe remercie chaleureusement les mécènes et partenaires du projet :


L’Institut du monde arabe remercie les partenaires médias du projet :



Ainsi que ses généreux donateurs :

Monsieur Etienne Binant, Monsieur Wafic Saïd, Monsieur Georges Antaki.

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