The Hittite empire, a great rival power of ancient Egypt, ruled over Anatolia and held sway over the Levant until about 1200 BC. Its demise gave rise to Neo-Hittite and Aramean kingdoms in modern-day Turkey and Syria, heirs of the political, cultural, and artistic traditions of the fallen empire. The exhibition invites visitors to rediscover the mythic sites of this forgotten civilization, such as the majestic remains of the Tell Halaf site, located near the current Turco-Syrian border.
This major Syrian heritage site was discovered by Max von Oppenheim, who conducted excavations there from 1911 to 1913. The large sculptures, which adorned the palace of the Aramean king Kapara, were brought back to Berlin where they were exhibited, then very heavily damaged in WW2 bombings. An incredible conservation project carried out in the early 2000s made it possible to rehabilitate them.
The history of this collection makes for compelling testimony to the ongoing efforts to preserve endangered heritage sites, past and present. The Louvre is strongly committed to this cause, particularly in war-torn countries, by mobilizing the international community and, most recently, by participating in the creation of ALIPH in 2017 (International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas).