Museum of ‘Karun Treasures’ in its calmest days
The Karun Treasures, a priceless collection of 432 pieces, including a winged seahorse brooch, which was stolen twice before and smuggled abroad, are now on display at the Uşak Archaeology Museum, awaiting visitors.
The Uşak Archaeology Museum is home to more than 2,500 artifacts displayed along with the Karun Treasures, featured as among the most valuable treasures of the world. The museum is going through a quieter period compared to previous years due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Designed with a modern museology understanding, the Uşak Archaeology Museum opened in 2018 in the southern province of Uşak. Home to the collection of 432 pieces belonging to Lydian King Croesus, who ruled between 560-546 B.C., and the senior commanders of Lydia, the museum displays the world’s most valuable artifacts called the Karun Treasures.
The winged seahorse brooch believed to have belonged to Lydian King Croesus was stolen twice and smuggled abroad and then brought back to the country after the initiatives of the Culture and Tourism Ministry. It is now on display at the museum, along with many other such artifacts like lion-head bracelets and a winged sun disc necklace, mesmerizing onlookers.
The Karun treasures especially have been a subject of great interest, drawing thousands of people to the museum every year before the pandemic. The museum once again is awaiting visitors for them to witness the impressive beauty of this magnificent collection.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Şerif Söyler said the museum, which covers a closed area of 14,500 square meters, hosted some 40,000 people annually before the pandemic.
Noting that the museum is home to unique treasures of the world, Söyler said that small manual tools and sculptures from ancient cities in Uşak were exhibited on the ground floor, and the history of the money found by the Lydians is told on the middle floor. He stated that six short films about Uşak culture and history were also presented at the museum.
“The city has a culture of carpet and trade that started in the 15th and 16th centuries. Thanks to this carpet trade, factories were opened in the city, which brought richness. In the coin section on the middle floor, where we tell the history of the money, we start with the exchange system and continue it till the invention of money, and then we make a demonstration describing banknotes and the banking system,” he said.
Museum’s second floor entirely for Karun Treasures
Stating that the Karun Treasures attract the great attention of visitors, Söyler said that when the word “Lydia” is mentioned, Karun comes to the mind first.
Reminding that the only and unique Karun Treasures in the world belong to the Lydian king and his commanders, who became rich with the invention of gold and money and became the wealthiest state in the world, Söyler said: “All pieces are very rare. This collection is unique in the world. It is a collection designed in a way to show the imagination of the master who made it and the art and richness of that period. The person who ordered these treasures also kept their molds with the treasure. We have a unique collection as there is no possibility to copy or reproduce it. All of them are priceless works.”
Stating that the pieces can also be seen through the virtual museum, Söyler said that Uşak was very lucky in this regard.
“I recommend those who cannot come to our city for various reasons to visit our virtual museum,” he added.
The Karun Treasures were found by treasure hunters in the Toptepe, İkiztepe and Aktepe mounds near the village of Güre in Uşak in 1965, 1966 and 1968 before being smuggled abroad.
The 432-piece treasures began to be displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum in 1985, and the collection was returned to Turkey in 1993 after a long legal battle.
Among the most precious artifacts in the treasure, the winged seahorse brooch was brought back to Turkey in March 2013 after being stolen from the museum in Uşak in 2005. The brooch is made of pure gold and is worth millions of Turkish Liras.