Amrit from Iconem on Vimeo.


The Phoenician archeological site in Amrit, located on the Syrian coast, 8 kilometers South of Tartous, was discovered at the end of the 20th century by the French archeologist Ernest Renan,

Even though the circumstances of its foundation are still uncertain, we can still assume that the religious center would have been built by the inhabitants of the ancient Phoenician city of Arward, and never had the vocation of being a dwelling place. The vastness of the site -3 on 2 kilometers long- testifies of its importance.

Although it has been occupied since the 3rd millennium BC, the broad majority of the site’s monuments were built during the Persian domination form the 6thto the 4th century BC.

The temple (Al-Maabad), that used to be devoted to the Phoenician god Melkart- associated to the Egyptian god Echmoun and also the Greek god Hercules – is the heart of the site. It is surrounded by a deep ornamental pond, dug in the ground where used to be an artificial lake. It was sourced by the surrounding springs, from which waters were supposed to have a curative reputation. The sanctuary erected in the center of the pond, has two Egyptian style pillars while the merlons (the solid part of a crenellated parapet between two embrasures) of the naos (lower and central part of the temple) present a Mesopotamian influence. Hence the temple is a precious witness of the syncretic style of the Phoenician architecture: the style of merchant and sailor people, who’s ships seamed the Mediterranean Sea, from Crete to Egypt, through the Numidia.

Two meghazel – monumental funeral towers- seemed to have been a part of a bigger necropolis and a stadium from the Hellenistic period can also be observed on the site.


In December 2015 Iconem, in a partnership with Lattakia museum’s director and Houmam Saad (DGAM), realized a 3D acquisition. The goal of the mission was twofold: preserve the memory of the site and make accessible a structure that isn’t usually visible.

Many blocks are in fact in situ but are too deep into the water of the pond to be accessible. That’s why it appeared necessary to make a detailed photogrammetric survey of those blocks and of the sanctuary in the middle of the pond. A precise mapping of the underwater blocks was done: the accurate location of each of them is now known. With the 3D model we then achieve, it is now made possible to “access” virtually any part of the site, the immerged blocks and the sanctuary can from now on be easily studied by archeologists and specialists.