Cyprus Mail

Reception to welcome back stolen artefacts

A reception to officially receive the return of stolen artefacts was held on Tuesday at the Byzantine museum of the Archbishop Makarios III foundation in Nicosia.

The event was attended by Archbishop Chrysostomos, Communications Minister Marios Demetriades and the Swiss ambassador, among others.

The 32 objects had been stolen from churches in the north and were repatriated from Munich on August 28.

They include murals, a pair of sanctuary doors, pictures and manuscripts. Seven prehistoric antiquities have already been transferred to the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia.

The artefacts are part of the cache found in the possession of Turkish art smuggler Aydin Dikmen in which have now been returned following a Munich court ruling in favour of the Cyprus Republic in March 2015 after 16 years of litigation.

Another 173 Byzantine antiquities were repatriated in 2013, which had been stolen from Greek Cypriot churches, churches of the Maronite and Armenian community and private collections after the Turkish invasion in 1974.

In his address at the event on Tuesday, the Ambassador of Switzerland Peter Reinhardt said the Swiss Government supported the restoration of Cypriot cultural treasures.

He mentioned that Switzerland has already supported a project to digitise and document movable cultural goods stemming from the northern part of Cyprus since 2013. For this year, Switzerland announced a grant worth 100.000 Swiss francs (around €91,000) to help restore Cyprus cultural treasures.

The speeches were followed by a tour and presentation of the returned ecclesiastical treasures and an explanation of the maintenance works which will be carried out by the department of antiquities.



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