Sunday, December 16, 2007

Baghdad museum's slow recovery

clipped from
The Assyrian Hall at the Iraqi National Museum is breathtaking

Assyrian statue
The Assyrians once ruled a large empire

Stone panels from the royal palace at Khorsabad run along the walls.
The carvings on the friezes depict daily life in the Assyrian royal court, which at its height about 3,000 years ago controlled a region stretching across much of the modern Middle East.
Assyrian statue
Recent work in the hall has included the addition of a modern arch, which is flanked by ancient
bulls with eagle wings and human heads.
It forms the entrance to
the hall, which gives you the sense of walking into an Assyrian palace.
Perhaps the Assyrian gallery is so stunning because it is so unexpected in Baghdad.

Assyrian hall at Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad
Many of Iraq's ancient treasures have been looted since 2003

That collection was devastated in the days following the US-led invasion in 2003, when looters emptied the vaults.
Some important artefacts have been returned, including the Warka vase, which is over 5,000 years old.
Assyrian frieze at Iraqi National Museum
Iraqis are fiercely proud of their cultural heritage.
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