Syria Has Reputedly Hidden Away 99% of Its Cultural Heritage Artifacts

01 Apr 2015 1:37 PM | Anonymous

Syria Has Reputedly Hidden Away 99% of Its Cultural Heritage Artifacts 


It’s rare to hear any positive news associated with cultural heritage and Syria these days, but Maamoun Abdulkarim, director of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria, recently told the AFP that 99% of objects in the country’s 34 museums have been secretly hidden away to save them from looting and destruction. That’s about 300,000 artifacts and thousands of manuscripts — 80,000 items in Damascus alone.

Other nations have similarly hidden art in times of conflict. The Museo del Prado in Madrid packed away hundreds of its artworks in Valencia and Geneva during the Spanish Civil War, including Velásquez’s “Las Meninas” and Goya’s “Black” paintings. During World War II, the entire collection of Britain’s National Gallery was also transferred to an old slate mine in Wales. And during the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the National Museum evacuated many of its holdings to a vault.

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