Lebanese Museum Returns Artifacts From Syria’s Ancient City

A private Lebanese museum returned five Roman artifacts from the ancient city of Palmyra to Damascus. The artifacts have been on display at this museum since 2018. Palmyra is a site that was damaged during Syria’s decades-long conflict.

“The limestone statues and carved funerary stones dating from the Roman second and third centuries AD were returned at the initiative of a private Lebanese collector, Syrian antiquities chief Mohamed Nazir Awad said at a handover ceremony hosted by Lebanon’s National Museum in Beirut,” as per Reuters.

Jawad Adra is the collector. According to Reuters, he acquired them from European auction houses before Syria’s war began in 2011, Awad said, describing his actions as “a generous initiative”. The pieces (artifacts) had been on display at the Nabu Museum in northern Lebanon. They were returning to “their original homeland”, the Syrian official added.

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Roman artifacts from the ancient city of Palmyra are pictured during a handover ceremony hosted by Lebanon’s National Museum in Beirut, Lebanon January 20, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

The site of Palmyra is one of the most important cultural centers in the ancient world. During the Syrian conflict, it fell under the control of the Islamic State group, which blew up some of its major monuments, including the Arch of Triumph, according to Reuters.

Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim, said that talks were underway to arrange the return of other artifacts from the National Museum in Beirut to Syria.

In August 2021, The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra decided to return 14 works from its Asian art collection objects to the Indian government. Thirteen of the items purchased between 2002 and 2010 from ‘Art of the Past’, the now-infamous Manhattan gallery, were led by the disgraced dealer and alleged antiquities smuggler Subhash Kapoor.


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Feature Image Via REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

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