Perge sculptures open to visitors in Antalya
ISTANBULAn opening ceremony of 12 sculptures that were unearthed during excavations in the ancient city of Perge in the southern province of Antalya was held on Nov. 25 at the Antalya Archaeology Museum.
The sculptures were found at the western gate and the Severuslan Square of the ancient city.
Nabi Avcı, the culture and tourism minister, said the Antalya Archaeology Museum was the largest in the world displaying such high-quality sculptures, but criticized Turkey for failing to promote the museum to millions of tourists visiting Antalya.
Avcı stressed that education starting from preschools should raise awareness for the promotion of Turkey’s artifacts and richness, and said they signed a protocol with the Education Ministry regarding such an initiative.
The minister said 198 museums and 138 reorganized ancient sites required attention and interest.
“We have initiated the restoration, maintenance and reorganization of museums that have been affiliated with the ministry since 2003. We have also opened 56 new museums. The ministry is still working on plans, projects … and reconstruction for 82 museums,” Avcı said.
He said that among Roman cities, the ancient city of Perge had the best city planning model and structuring features.
“It is one of the most organized cities, not only in the Pamphylia region, but also in all of Anatolia and the historic world,” he said.
On UNESCO tentative list
Avcı said Perge was added to the UNESCO Tentative Heritage list in 2009 and that excavations there had been conducted by the Antalya Archaeology Museum since 2012.
He also expressed gratitude to officials and security units who are working to prevent artifacts from being smuggled abroad.
“It should be known by everyone that right now, many well-known museums abroad display artifacts that have been stolen from our country. We would like to thank a Viennese citizen who sent a small figure which he purchased from a store in 1963 back to our museum. Hopefully, this history lover will be a model for those who plundered our historical artifacts and are continuing to display them abroad,” Avcı said.
Manfred Weinwurm, an Austrian tourist who visited Antalya in 1963, had purchased a bull head figure in the resort city and took it to his country. In March 2015, he did what he wanted to for a long time and sent the bull head figure back to Turkey.
“Dear ladies and gentlemen! I was in Antalya in the summer of 1963 for one week. I purchased this nice bull head from a small store. Today I want this figure to go back to its home,” Weinwurm wrote in a letter.