The Forgotten Cities Hiking Trails run along three different routes in the area of Samaan (Simeon) Mountain, the Limestone Massif of North Syria to the west of Aleppo. More than 700 dead or forgotten cities containing archeological sites and rich cultural and natural heritage features are located along the 140-kilometer north/south trail that varies from 20 to 30 kilometers wide.
The signage project aimed to valorize Syria’s natural culture and heritage and attract international recognition for this area in the hopes of propelling a nomination as an official UNESCO World Heritage site.
The signage system and trail concept were based on technical and functional requirements. The system needed to be:
- Maintenance free for up to 20 years
- Capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions
- Low cost
- Manufacturable on site with a local workforce
- Accident proof (from farming machinery, mules, motorbikes, herds of sheep, etc.)
- Low carbon footprint
The production itself both involved and benefited from the local population. Local villagers supplied vital navigation information and assisted in producing and planting the signs.
Sign materials were chosen for their ability to withstand weather conditions and possible vandalism. After concrete samples were sent to specialized laboratories for durability testing, the signs were constructed of concrete blocks with inset PVC letterforms (in both Arabic and English to appeal to Arab and Western audiences), arrows, and other visual elements. The result is a system that honors the rich heritage of the site but does not impose on it.
Tammam Yamout (project manager, designer), Josette Khalil (creative director, designer)
MORES (environmental engineering, client representative, planning, contracting)
Peters Brass (PVC lettering), MORES and local community (concrete works)