15:10 May. 5, 2016
Valery Gergiev, who is known for his strongly pro-Kremlin views, will perform in UNESCO world heritage site
Russian maestro Valery Gergiev on Thursday will conduct his orchestra in the ancient theatre of Syria's ravaged Palmyra, only weeks after it was recaptured from the Islamic State's grip.
The concert will bring music to the ancient site that IS notoriously used to hold public executions after it overran Palmyra last year.
The Mariinsky orchestra will give the concert at 1400 GMT, the Mariinsky theatre in Saint Petersburg, where Gergiev is director, said in a statement.
The orchestra "will give a concert 'Praying for Palmyra. Music brings ancient walls alive' on the site of the world-famous amphitheatre of Palmyra in Syria," it said.
Syrian troops backed by Russian air strikes and special forces on the ground recaptured UNESCO world heritage site Palmyra from Islamic State group fighters in late March, delivering a major propaganda coup for both Damascus and Moscow.
Russian army sappers said last month that they had demined the ancient site -- known as the "Pearl of the Desert" -- where jihadist fighters blew up ancient temples and looted relics.
Gergiev is one of the world's best known conductors but has faced some criticism in the West for his strongly pro-Kremlin views, with his tours sometimes interrupted by protestors.