For the past six years, Syria has faced an existential threat in the form of a protracted civil war. Its richly variegated and multi-layered identity has degenerated into warring factions whose catastrophic actions have inflicted thousands of casualties, the displacement and migration of millions of people, and the destruction of the built environment and the nation’s cultural heritage. Much has been lost and it will take the dedicated and selfless work of at least a generation to restore what remains.
History has shown, however, that Syria can rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes of tragedy to rebuild again. Its national heritage has passed the test of time through the survival of some of the most magnificent artistic specimens, either because they were buried underneath the protective Syrian soil or because they were preserved in museums across the world.