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Gallowglass Security at unveiling of Palmyra Arch of Triumph at Trafalgar Square.

  • Blog
  • 20th April 2016
  • By Jack Flash

It was a considerable honour to have been invited by Flux Events; to provide an event security regime on the 19th  of April 2016, for the unveiling of the recreation of the destroyed Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, at Trafalgar Square in London.

This occasion, as part of World Heritage week, was laden and imbued with symbolic and cultural significance, following the Arch’s wanton destruction by the nihilism of ISIS in 2015. In essence it represented an act and expression of defiance by all those who value such monuments as complex repositories of cultural narratives, to be cherished and preserved ad infinitum in order to promote peace, tolerance and human understanding.

The prime movers of this complex and innovative project were the Oxford Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA), in collaboration with Harvard University, the University of Oxford and Dubai's Museum of the Future. For the IDA this represented both a digital and technological challenge with an eleven ton and twenty foot monument being immaculately crafted from Egyptian marble, and being erected in only six hours.

For Maamoun Abdulkarim, director general of Syria’s antiquities and museums, this project symbolised how Palmyra would be restored in the spirit of peace, and that this reconstruction was not just significant for the people of Syria, but for the world, given that Palmyra’s is one of the most unique and outstanding cultural heritage sites that stands testament to the rich history of the Middle East.

Arch of Triumph in Palmyra

Palmyra’s rise to prominence occurred in the first century, on account of it being located in a fertile oasis in the crucible of trade routes for caravans travelling between the Mediterranean, Mesopotamia and Arabia. It was also a vital link on the old Silk Route from China and India to Europe, with the city prospering greatly by levying heavy tolls on the caravans. It was defined also not just by its prosperity, but by its cultural geography, with the Roman empire to its west and the Zoroastrian Parthians to the east.

These cultural waves have all influenced the unique character of Palmyra, notably its citizens willingness to trade, to assimilate populations, adapt to new cultural mores and habits and tolerate belief systems without conflict. Important characteristics that have a universal appeal and underline the significance of the unveiling. As the colourful Mayor of London reflected, in his inimitable style, about what this all in part represented “How many digits do Daesh deserve? Two digits to Daesh from London!”


From the Gallowglass security perspective our priority was to ensure that all our strategic security objectives were met in a seamless manner, and delivered in a style that complimented the occasion. This in turn rested upon diligent preparation beforehand, together with the adroit crewing of a first class security team led by our primus inter pares, Nick Kostov.

He was supported by experience, ability and intelligence of the security team comprised of Ingrid Gibson, Piotr Zwawiak, Martin Heath, Edwin Wood, Ernos Szollosi, Amary  Mdiaye, Konrad Korzeniowski, Alexandra Andrasel and Mindaugas Lukosius; all of whom delivered to the highest possible standards that we expect.

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