The entrance of the palace of Guzana

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on February 5th, 2018 in General

Image result for berlin tell halaf

These 1929 photo depict the entrance gate of the royal palace of Guzana (modern Tall-Halaf, in Northeastern Syria), capital of the Aramaean kingdom of Bit Bahiani. King Gabara of Guzana built the palace in the Xth century BC (so three thousand years ago).

The palace was discovered by Max Von Oppenheim (of “Die Beduinen” fame, for Arabian horse enthusiasts) in 1911, who dismantled it and took it to Berlin with other artifcats (below) where they was displayed in a museum especially dedicated to Tell Halaf.

Image result for berlin tell halaf

In 1943, a British warplane dropped a phosphorus bomb on the museum, which burnt down to the ground. The royal gate and all the other artifacts were smashed into dozens of thousands of pieces, some of which were stored away, awaiting their reconstitution.

Before leaving Syria, Oppenheim had casts made of the entrance gate of the palace (and some of its sculptures), which now form the entrance of the Aleppo Museum. I saw it there several times (below). The casts are a poor, plain copy of the originals.

Between 2001 and 2010, some 30 sculptures were painstakingly reconstructed from 27,000 fragments. The reconstruction of the palace gate will be completed in 2025. That’s 92 years after its destruction, 114 years after its discovery, and some 3,000 years after its building.

And below, a hunting scene from Tell Halaf, with a horse — just to stay on topic ;).


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