May 31, 2024

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The stolen statue of King Ramses II returns to Egypt after 30 years

The stolen statue of King Ramses II returns to Egypt after 30 years

King Ramesses II

Noos News

Egypt has returned a 3,400-year-old statue of the head of King Ramesses II. The Ministry of Antiquities says the statue was stolen and smuggled out of the country about 30 years ago.

The statue is now in the Egyptian Museum in the capital, Cairo, but it is not on display. The ministry says it is being restored.

The statue was stolen more than thirty years ago from the Temple of Ramesses II in the ancient city of Abydos in southern Egypt. The exact date is unknown, but Abdel Gawad, head of Egypt's antiquities restoration department, says it is estimated that the piece was stolen in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

Jawad says: “This head is part of a group of statues of King Ramesses II, sitting next to a number of Egyptian gods.” Ramesses II was one of the most powerful pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Also known as Ramses the Great, he was the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1279 to 1213 BC.

For sale in London

The authorities spotted the statue when it was offered for sale at an exhibition in London in 2013. The statue then moved to different countries and eventually ended up in Switzerland.

Egypt cooperated with the Swiss authorities to determine legal ownership. Switzerland handed over the statue to the Egyptian embassy in Bern last year, but Egypt only recently returned the statue to its country.