BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq’s National Museum re-opened yesterday to visitors after a three-year closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic and political unrest.
Treasures dating back 2,500 years to the neo-Assyrian empire alongside 9th Century Islamic antiquities went back on display, including two winged bulls from the Nimrud site in the palace of Assurnasirpal II (883-859 BCE).
“We’ve waited a long time to come here,” said Tijen Kayralci, 65, part of a tour group from Turkey.
“It’s beyond my expectations, these are priceless, very valuable pieces,” she said. “It reflects the depth of Iraq’s history.”
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said on Sunday at the official inauguration that the museum, founded in 1923 to display five millennia of history in Mesopotamia, or modern-day Iraq, has undergone extensive renovation.
The Iraq Museum was closed three years ago “because of the demonstrations and for security reasons”, said Head of Iraq’s Antiquities Authority Laith Majid Hussein, referring to anti-government protests which swept the country in 2019.
“And then there was the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.