Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene / Alexandria on the Indus (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Looted art returned to Afghanistan

Certain facts related to the war in Afghanistan hardly reach the news headlines. One of those is the alarming fact that no less than two thirds of the artifacts from the National Museum in Kabul were destroyed or simply stolen during the war of the 1990’s. Among them is a wide and unique collection of Hellenistic and post-Hellenistic art which we owe to the conquests of Alexander the Great.

By luck or by chance, it happens that stolen items are being seized by customs or by specialized official institutions like the Art and Antiques Unit of the British Police services. We are all aware that many objects are smuggled out of Afghanistan to end up on black markets all over the world. It takes constant awareness and alertness from officials and museums alike to recognize and identify those precious pieces.

It has been revealed that the British Museum, for instance, recently assisted in the return of 843 artefacts to Afghanistan, including those entrusted to the museum for safekeeping like the famous Begram ivories and an important sculpture of Buddha. Other objects, including Bronze Age carvings and medieval Islamic coins, were saved by private individuals.

Thanks to the assistance of the Royal Air Force, the precious cargo was flown to Kabul through the army base of Helmand. What an event!

It is such a comfort to read some positive news and to see that at least part of Afghanistan’s own cultural heritage is coming home after so many years of conflict in spite of the frequent looting and the illegal removal of these objects. It is an ongoing project and I hope many more success story will follow this one.

[picture from BBC]

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