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)

Monday, January 14, 2013

New hope for the Museum of Baghdad

Thanks to the travel-blog of Gadling, I have been made aware that the National Museum of Iraq is to reopen soon. One of the authors of this blog, Shean McLachlan, was allowed inside for a sneak preview.

After the fall of Baghdad in 2003, the entire city was in chaos and nobody was there to protect the museum – probably the last concern for the invading armies. As always, looters swarmed in like vultures, ransacking and steeling whatever fell in their hands. The Museum staff resisted as best as they could, asking the American army for protection but it is still not clear how well this was handled. Countless artefacts were smashed, thousands were stolen. Yet, thanks to the bravery of the museum staff the best pieces were hidden in secret locations, others were later on recovered although most disappeared in the hands of private collectors. A very sad story of lost culture!

So, I am very pleased to hear the good news that Baghdad is working on reopening its precious Museum where treasures from the dawn of civilization had found refuge. In his sneak preview, Shean McLachlan witnessed giant Assyrian statues standing next to peculiar bright eyed Sumerian ones. Reliefs with hunting scenes and warfare have found their way back, together with cases full of cylinder seals that somehow survived the looting (they are so easy to smuggle out of the country!). All in all, he saw twenty-two completed galleries, with five more still being under construction. It seems that some rooms have been reproduced as they were before the war while others are completely remodelled and modernized. Interestingly all the galleries are now labelled in both Arabic and English. This does not mean that everything has returned to the museum and illegal transactions are still ongoing – unfortunately.

Anyway, the Museum is to be reopened at some time in 2013. When you consider that this is one of the greatest museums in the Middle-East and definitely the greatest museum in Iraq, we have something to look forward to!

I wish Iraq and more specifically Baghdad were a safer place to travel to for I can’t wait to go there and look around for what Alexander could have seen or even left behind – after all, Babylon is not too far away.

All the pictures in Shean McLachlan’s article are under copyright. So please visit his Gadling-weblog for his photos – the one of the jade Sumerian is absolutely superb!
[Picture of the Museum is from the Digital Journal]

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