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Stolen Statue of King Ramses II is back in Egypt

April 22, 2024
Photo Source: Ahram Online

A 3,400-year-old head from a statue of King Ramses II, which was stolen and smuggled out of Egypt over three decades ago, was returned to its home country on Sunday 21 April. 

The artifact, part of a group statue depicting the ancient Egyptian ruler alongside deities, was confiscated in Geneva during criminal proceedings. 

Last July, it was handed over to the Egyptian embassy in Bern and has now been entrusted to the care of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, the head of the department dedicated to the repatriation of antiquities, highlighted the significance of this return, emphasizing the joint commitment of Switzerland and Egypt to combating the illegal trade of cultural property. 

Mohamed Ismail Khalid, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, expressed gratitude for the collaborative efforts of various entities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Cooperation Office of the Public Prosecution Office, Swiss authorities, and the Egyptian embassy in Bern.

The recovery of this statue is part of the broader ongoing plan by the tourism ministry to retrieve Egyptian artifacts that have been smuggled out of the country.

In 2013, Egyptian authorities first spotted the artifact when it was being offered for sale at an exhibition in London. It had traveled through several other countries before ending up in Switzerland. 

The Ramses II temple in the ancient city of Abydos in Southern Egypt, from where the statue was originally stolen, holds immense historical and cultural significance. 

Ramses II, also known as Ramses the Great, was one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs, ruling from 1279 to 1213 B.C. 

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