Museum in Syria receives coin collection seized from smugglers

The Syrian special services have handed over to Latakia museum a collection of 37 coins from the Byzantine and Islamic periods, which were seized when they were smuggled abroad, museum director Ibrahim Herbek told reporters.

“These coins were discovered by law enforcement agencies in Syria and handed over to us. Among them are coins of Byzantine period and gold dinars of different Arab caliphates. It’s no exaggeration to call it a treasure,” Herbek said.

According to experts, confiscated coins belong to the period XII-XIII or IX-XII centuries. Their obverses and reverses are decorated with portraits of Byzantine emperors, as well as inscriptions in Latin. This currency was used in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, and could also be used by crusaders during the Crusades.

In the near future employees will begin to identify and describe the coins. In particular, the years of minting and the mint will be determined. After that they will take a place in the exposition of the museum.

Herbek said that during the war, cultural monuments and archaeological finds made illegally in territories controlled by terrorists were often exported abroad.

“It is not even possible to estimate approximately how much the museum exhibits were taken out of Syria during the war. Our monuments are priceless. We believe that one side of the war is the destruction of our culture and monuments. Much has been taken away, more has been destroyed,” he stressed.