- Title: Rescued from the black market, Bulgarian artefacts go on display
- Date: 7th November 2018
- Summary: SOFIA, BULGARIA (NOVEMBER 6, 2018) (REUTERS) POSTER AT ENTRY TO GALLERY EXHIBITING ARTEFACTS RESCUED FROM TRAFFICKERS IN BULGARIA TEXT ON POSTER READING (English): "RESCUED TREASURES OF BULGARIA" JOURNALISTS LOOKING AT EXHIBITS IN GALLERY CASE HOLDING ROMAN AND GREEK STATUES HEAD OF MARBLE STATUE MARBLE STATUE OF SITTING MAN (SOUNDBITE) (Bulgarian) MUSEUM DIRECTOR, LYUDMIL VAGALINSKI, SAYING: "(The exhibition includes) about 300 artefacts from 19 museums all around the country, which have been rescued by Ministry of Culture from treasure hunters. We want to show the public a small amount of what we lose each year as culture, as history and money from unrealised cultural tourism, because unfortunately treasure hunting in Bulgaria has grown to monstrous dimensions." JOURNALISTS LOOKING AT ARTEFACTS IN CASES HELMETS AND WEAPONS ON DISPLAY IN CASE HELMETS IN CASE CREST OF HELMET / CHEEKGUARD OF HELMET (SOUNDBITE) (Bulgarian) EXHIBITION CURATOR, KRASTYO CHUKALEV, SAYING: "There are many interesting artefacts in the exhibition, but the environment in which they have been found was permanently lost to science, which makes the telling the story of our predecessors, who lived on this land, more difficult." VARIOUS OF GREEK VASE IN GLASS CASE GOLD CAMEO RING ON DISPLAY GOLD NECKLACE ON DISPLAY SET OF SILVER GREEK OR ROMAN COINS RELIGIOUS ICONS AND CROSSES IN GLASS CASE JOURNALISTS ATTENDING NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Bulgarian) POLICE CHIEF INSPECTOR, ANGEL PAPALEZOV, SAYING: "The recent case in Spain was like this: Bulgarian citizens, who bought archaeological artefacts in Bulgaria, smuggled them to Spain, where they put them on sale on the internet which means they have access to buyers from all around the world. Luckily this is a crime not only in Bulgaria but also in Spain and many other countries, which makes their arrest and prosecution possible." PEOPLE IN MUSEUM GALLERY EXTERIOR OF MUSEUM
- Embargoed: 21st November 2018 10:12
- Keywords: exhibition of seized artefacts archeological digs antiquities trafficking ancient history Bulgarian culture cultural heritage
- Location: SOFIA, BULGARIA / VALENCIA, SPAIN
- City: SOFIA, BULGARIA / VALENCIA, SPAIN
- Country: Bulgaria
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA00195IBLMH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: An exhibition of artefacts rescued from black market traffickers in Bulgaria opened to the public at Sofia's archeological museum on Wednesday (November 7) hoping to raise awareness of the danger trafficking in stolen archeological finds poses to the country's cultural heritage.
Standing among glass cases holding ancient helmets and weapons, Greek and Roman statues and gold jewellery, museum director Professor Lyudmil Vagalinski said the public was unaware of the scale of the theft of Bulgaria's archaeological riches.
Vagalinski said the country was losing out on not only knowing about its history but also money from cultural tourism, and said illegal treasure hunting had grown to "monstrous dimensions" in Bulgaria.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference on Tuesday (November 6) before the exhibition opened, Bulgarian police chief inspector Angel Papalezov said law enforcement data suggested there were up to 30,000 people actively involved in trafficking historical artefacts in Bulgaria.
More than 100 pre-trial proceedings are initiated for illegally excavating and trading artefacts from Bulgaria every year, according to statistics from the country's interior ministry.
Spanish police on Monday (November 5) announced they had seized tens of thousands of genuine and forged artefacts, including coins, rings and other archeaological finds, mostly from Bulgaria.
Last month nine people were arrested in various Spanish cities and another four were arrested in Bulgaria in the joint operation between law enforcement in the two countries Spanish police said in a statement.
Those arrested are suspected of belonging to a criminal organisation involved in trafficking artefacts and money-laundering, the statement said.
Police believe the artefacts were being sold via online auction websites to collectors.
In ancient times the area now known as Bulgaria was home to Thracian tribes and was later heavily colonised by both the Greeks and the Romans.
In the medieval period the area changed hands repeatedly between the Bulgarian and Byzantine empires, finally coming under Ottoman Turkish rule until independence in the late 19th century.
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