Day 1: Building the Arch

It’s Monday, 18th April, about 6:30am, and Roger Michel and Alexy Karenowska are already out on Trafalgar Square, surrounded by scaffolding, trucks, folded marquees and a crane. Today is the day that the Triumphal Arch of Palmyra will be built in Trafalgar Square. The entire process only takes about 5 hours, as the arch itself is made up of seven pieces which are easily joined together by steel re-bar, like lego.

 Early stages of building on Trafalgar Square, April 18th

Early stages of building on Trafalgar Square, April 18th

Giacomo Massari, the man responsible for cutting and carving 11 tonnes of Egyptian marble into the arch, directs workmen as they place piece upon piece until all seven sit comfortably on top of the special metal palette which will distribute the weight of the arch across Trafalgar Square.

 Workers place the final of seven pieces on the Triumphal Arch 

Workers place the final of seven pieces on the Triumphal Arch 

Crowds have gathered to admire the arch, which is still wrapped in plastic wrap.  We get a little time to admire, but the arch is quickly covered up by a giant white sheet and blocked off from the public, in anticipation for the unveiling the next day.

 The arch in plastic wrap before it is covered with a sheet for the night 

The arch in plastic wrap before it is covered with a sheet for the night 

The completion of this stage, the physical construction of the arch in Trafalgar Square represents the culmination of months of work from members of the IDA, the Mayor’s office, the Museum of the Future, Vertex Modeling, TorArt and a host of volunteers. It also stands as a testament to the power of our collective efforts against those who wish to destroy the world’s cultural heritage.