Turkey displays rare 2nd century relic returned home after 50 years

ISTANBUL (dpa) – The Roman sarcophagus of Hercules, a rare artifact smuggled abroad some 50 years ago and recently returned to Turkey from Switzerland, was opened for public display on Sunday in Antalya Museum, museum officials told dpa.
The ancient Roman relic was discovered during illegal excavations in the ancient city of Perge, in the southern province of Antalya, and smuggled abroad in the late 1960s, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.

The marble sarcophagus, which depicts the Twelve Labors of Hercules, is believed to be one of only 12 in the world.
The relic was seized by Swiss customs officials in 2010. Ankara then demanded its return. Back in 2015, the Geneva prosecutor's office ordered it to be returned to Turkey.
The marble coffin, weighing 3 tonnes, was brought to Antalya on September 14 and delivered to its enclosure in Antalya Museum, Anadolu reported.
The relic's return is a symbolic achievement for Turkey, which has for many years been involved in several legal battles to retrieve dozens of ancient artifacts smuggled abroad.
Turkey seeks the return of 57 artifacts currently on display in 15 different countries, including France's Louvre, Hurriyet daily quoted Minister of Culture and Tourism Numan Kurtulmus as saying on Sunday.
“God willing, we will reach these, we are trying hard,” he said.

Monday, September 25th 2017

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