Objects, once smuggled to Switzerland, to go on show at home

April 7, 2021 - 9:31

TEHRAN – A once-smuggled collection of glazed bricks, which has been returned to Iran from Switzerland, will go on show in the city of Bukan, which is said to be their place of origin in western Iran.

Back in December, a total of 49 glazed bricks attributed to the Qalaichi archaeological site in West Azarbaijan province, which had been looted and smuggled out of Iran some four decades ago, were returned home with the aid of Swiss officials. 

The exhibit will be running for a month as of May 18. And the event is intended to highlight the history and culture of the region to the visitors, the provincial tourism chief, Jalil Jabari, said on Tuesday.

Situated about nine air km northwest of Bukan, Qalaichi (or Ghalay-chi) is an ancient settlement that so far yielded a large number of glazed objects. Some of which are monochrome and the others show complex compositions. The glazed objects from the regular excavations were curated in Urmia Museum and Tehran National Museum.

The artifacts are connected to the Mannai civilization, which was once flourished in northwestern Iran in the 1st millennium BC. Mannai, also spelled Manna, was an ancient country surrounded by three major powers of the time namely Assyria, Urartu, and Media.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Mannaeans are first recorded in the annals of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (reigned 858–824 BC) and are last mentioned in Urartu by Rusa II (reigned 685–645 BC) and in Assyria by Esarhaddon (reigned 680–669 BC). With the intrusion of the Scythians and the rise of the Medes in the 7th century, the Manneans lost their identity and were subsumed under the term Medes.


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