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Thursday, January 27, 2011
Cyrus Cylinder draws about 190,000 visitors to National Museum of Iran
Tehran Times Culture Desk
TEHRAN -- About 190,000 people visited the Cyrus Cylinder exhibit at the National Museum of Iran (NMI). The artifact was loaned by the British Museum on September 10, 2010 to the National Museum of Iran for a four-month show that ended on January 10.
The figure indicates the number of the tickets sold during the show, NMI curator Azadeh Ardakani told the Persian service of IRNA, adding that approximately 214,000 people visited the show including individuals from different organizations, institutes, schools and universities who visited the artifact free of charge.
“Iranian and foreign officials and diplomats were also among the visitors to the show,” she said. No news on returning the artifact to the British Museum was mentioned in the report.
The cylinder was unveiled during a ceremony attended by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, British Museum director Neil MacGregor and several other British and Iranian officials on September 12, 2010.
“International delegations from several African countries, as well as Pakistan, Armenia, Taiwan, China and the Netherlands were among the visitors during the show,” she said.
“Other visitors included journalists from France and Turkey, archaeologists from Germany and foreign ambassadors to Tehran,” she remarked.
Considered the world’s first declaration of human rights, the Cyrus Cylinder is a document issued by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great in the form of a clay cylinder inscribed in Akkadian cuneiform script.
The cylinder was created following the Persian conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, when Cyrus overthrew the Babylonian king Nabonidus and replaced him as ruler, ending the Neo-Babylonian Empire.
The text of the cylinder denounces Nabonidus as impious and portrays the victorious Cyrus as pleasing to the chief Babylonian god Marduk.
It goes on to describe how Cyrus had improved the lives of the citizens of Babylonia, repatriated displaced peoples and restored temples and cult sanctuaries.
The artifact was last displayed in Iran 40 years ago.
Photo: The Cyrus Cylinder on display at the National Museum of Iran (Mehr/Majid Asgaripur)