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The Cyprus Museum Tour

The Cyprus Museum Tour Packages
Country: Cyprus
City: Nicosia
Duration: 1 Day(s) - 0 Night(s)
Tour Category: Half Day Tour

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The Cyprus Museum in Lefkosia is the main and largest archaeological museum in Cyprus. Work on the building commenced in 1908 and was completed in 1924 when Cyprus was still a British colony. Several extensions were added later, to reach their present form.

A visit through the collections on the museum provides an opportunity to experience the development of Cyprus’ civilization, from the Neolithic Age to the Early Byzantine period (7th century AD). Finds from extensive excavations all over the island enrich the museum’s collections and contribute to the development of Cyprus’ archaeology and research into the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean. The collections consist of pottery, jewelry, sculpture, coins, copper objects, and other artifacts, exhibited in chronological order in the various museum galleries.

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As an institution, the Cyprus Museum was founded in 1882 during the British occupation of the island following a petition by the Cypriot people. This makes the museum 139 years old.

The petition was delivered to the British administration by a delegation headed by the religious leaders of both the Christian and Muslim populations. A major catapult for this action were several illicit excavations and the smuggling of antiquities of the island. The most extensive of these had been carried out a few years earlier by the United States Ambassador, Luigi Palma di Cesnola, who had smuggled over 35,000 artifacts off the island, most of which were destroyed in transit. Many of the surviving items ended up in the newly formed Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and are currently on display in their own galleries on the second floor.

Soon after its inception, the museum started receiving items from the numerous excavations on the island, mainly run by British and European expeditions. Indicative is the annual excavation reports published in The Journal of Hellenic Studies from 1890 onwards. The first organized catalog was soon compiled and published in 1899 by Sir John Myres and Max Ohnefalsch-Richter.

The collections of the museum were greatly augmented by the first large-scale systematic excavations carried out by the Swedish Cyprus Expedition between 1927 and 1931 under the direction of professor Einar Gjerstad.

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