Museums News Iraq

Baghdad museum reopens Hellenistic galleries

While Islamic State continues its iconoclastic destruction of art and imagery across Iraq and Syria

Visitors at the opening of the Iraqi National Museum's renovated halls last week. Photo: AP Photo/Hadi Mizban

As the Islamic State (IS) continued to expand its military reach across Iraq and Syria, the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad opened briefly to the public on Thursday to launch two renovated galleries of mostly Hellenistic art, according to the Associated Press. The museum has largely been closed since the 2003 US-led invasion of the country, after its collection was badly looted during the fall of Baghdad in April that year. Some of the stolen pieces, now recovered, are included in the museum’s restored halls.

More than 500 works are on view in the reopened galleries, including sculptures of King Sanatruq I of Hatra holding a palm leaf and a headless figure of Hercules carrying a baton. Both pieces were excavated from the ancient city of Hatra, a Unesco World Heritage Site that may be under threat as IS continues its iconoclastic destruction of unsanctioned art and imagery.

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