In Turkey, police are searching for 21 priceless Byzantine icons stolen on Saturday (19 August) from an Istanbul museum.
In Turkey, police are searching for 21 priceless Byzantine icons stolen on Saturday (19 August) from an Istanbul museum. The thieves broke in during the night and removed nearly all the relics from the important icon collection at the Kariye Museum.
SYNOPSIS: Housed in a former church and mosque, the museum stands near Istanbul's Adrianople Gate. Restored in the 11th century and extensively remodelled in the 14th century, it is now the renowned in the 14th century, it is now the renowned showcase for Byzantine era mosaics, marbles and frescoes. The theft of the important icons shocked the city, tourists and art scholars.
The Governor of Istanbul, Mr. Ihsan Tekin, called at the Kariye Museum the morning after the raid to evaluate the loss. He spoke to the night watchman, who was overpowered by three men during the theft. he also toured the remaining collections, some of which had been cleaned and consolidate with the help of the Byzantine Institute of America. Just four of the 800-year-old icons were left by the thieves.
The value of the loss is difficult to estimate, for the Byzantine relics are irreplaceable. Such icons would command high prices in the world's art auction rooms, but the thieves will need to find black market collectors.