Bashar al-Assad’s Presidential Palace rebuilt in Israel


The replica is part of the TV set for the new Fox Television series ‘The Tyrant,’ written & developed by Israeli screenwriter Gideon Raff.

By i24News


President Bashar al-Assad’s palace overlooking Damascus is considered one of the more ostentatious structures in the Middle East. The palace, designed by Japanese architect Kenzō Tange and laid out over 510,000 square meters, consists of mostly marble rooms.

Assad's Presidential Palace: The monumental gateway is decorated with abstracted muqarnas vaults ( Flickr/Jacobdugo )

Assad’s Presidential Palace: The monumental gateway is decorated with abstracted muqarnas vaults – Photo: Flickr/Jacobdugo

A replica is going up these days in an unlikely spot – the town of Kfar Sava, northeast of Tel Aviv.

No, the mayor has not been seized with a fit of megalomania. The edifice is the set for the Fox Television series “Tyrant,” parts of which are being filmed in Israel, which is scheduled to premiere in June.

To complete the set, tanks will be brought to the site, and filming will start in mid-April.

The series was written and developed by Gideon Raff, creator of the Israeli television series “Hatufim” (“Prisoners of War”), which was later remade into the successful American television series “Homeland.”

The show’s producer is Howard Gordon, whose credits include Showtime’s “Homeland” and Fox’s “24” — both of which center around US counterterrorism efforts against targets that are generally Arab or Muslim extremists.

“Tyrant” follows an American family whose patriarch, Bassam “Barry” Al Fayeed, played by Adam Rayner, is a royal son of the Arab dictator of a state called Baladi. Barry left his home country for America 20 years before the start of the series, becoming a doctor, and returns for his brother’s wedding, only to be met by a coup that thrusts him back into the corrupt government he tried to escape.


Assad’s Presidential Palace: The 20-meter-high rooms are lined with Carrara marble. Photo: Flickr/Jacobdugo

Its creators say they deliberately mixed elements from several actual countries so they don’t seem to be targeting a particular one, or situation. Yet many would say they see it as the story of Bashar Assad, president of Syria, who studied medicine in England before returning home to take over the presidency.

In a January news conference, the producers addressed the possibility that some viewers might draw a connection between the elite, assimilated Muslim “Barry Al Fayeed” and President Barack Obama — who went by “Barry” for some of his life and who some Americans continue to believe is Muslim, even though he is Christian.

Assad’s presidential Palace, Damascus: White marble walls frame tinted windows that survey the city. – Photo: Flickr/Nawa-2012

“Some people will think we’re referring to Obama. We’re absolutely not,” Raff said.

“The honest reason that I chose the name ‘Barry’ is because it is so dorky, and going from that to tyrant is awesome.”

“Tyrant,” whose stars include Israeli actress Moran Atias, will be the most expensive production ever filmed in Israel, and is expected to bring tens of millions of shekels into the Israeli economy. It will be shown on the FX cable network starting this summer.


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