Baghdad (NINA) –The Iraqi National Museum will be inaugurated on next Monday after being closed for about six years after being subject for looting during the chaos period that followed April 9th, 2003.
Media advisor of the ministry of state for Tourism Affairs Abdul Zahra al-Talaqani stated to the National Iraqi News Agency on Sunday "Monday will witness opining the museum after being entirely rehabilitated."
He noted that the museum will receive Arab and Foreign officials who have been invited to attend the inauguration ceremony.
The past period has witnessed retrieving nearly 6,000 stolen antique pieces from various Iraqi provinces and foreign countries.
The ministry emphasized its cooperation with the Interpol to follow up and restore looted and smuggled antiques allover the world.
A ministry source stated that the cooperation includes informing of stolen antiquities in a certain country, following up auctions in addition to information provided by Iraqi embassies abroad via the foreign ministry over the presence of smuggled pieces at any country.
The estimated numbers of stolen antiquities vary, as the Ministry of State for Tourism and Antiquities declared that the number is 15,000 pieces, while former general director of Antiquities at the department of Folklore and antiquities Dr. Hameed Mohammed Hasan said that more than 170,000 pieces were stolen from the National Museum.
The museum was established in 1926 and was located in Rusafi Square near Rasheed Street, to be moved in 1966 to its current location in Alawi area of central Baghdad.
The classified ancient pieces in the museum are about 200,000, distributed on safes and display halls.
Each of the 14 main display halls of the museum contains various display safes and the total number of display safes in the museum is 451.
The National Museum remained opened during the years of the Iraqi-Iranian war but it was closed down in 1990 when some nearby buildings were damaged due to bombardment, and its contents were transferred to the underground floor, but this precaution resulted in damaging stored pieces, due to the high level of groundwater. The museum then re-opened in the year 2000 to be closed again in 2003 prior to the U.S military invasion. /End/