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Nearly two hundred thousand visit the Cyrus Cylinder in Iran

Despite, or maybe because of the current controversy surrounding its ownership & loan [1], the Cyrus Cylinder has attracted large numbers of visitors, during its temporary return to Iran.

Tehran Times [2]

Cyrus Cylinder draws about 190,000 visitors to National Museum of Iran
Tehran Times Culture Desk
January 27, 2011

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.

Press TV [3]

1000s of officials visit Cyrus Cylinder
Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:2AM
Almost 1,170 foreign officials as well as almost 5,360 Iranian officials have so far visited the Cyrus Cylinder which is on loan in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

According to the head of the National Museum of Iran, Azadeh Ardakani, foreign officials, delegations, and academics that have visited the Cyrus Cylinder in Tehran include those from different African countries, Republic of Azerbaijan, Italy, Croatia, Turkey, Iraq, China, Germany Armenia, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Singapore, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Brazil, Lebanon, the Philippines, Russia, Kirgizstan, Afghanistan, France, Indonesia, Japan, etc. as well as officials from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The cylinder was escorted by a delegation headed by the British Museum keeper of the Middle East collections, John Curtis, to the National Museum of Iran in September, where it was planned to remain for four months.

Later, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) announced that the exhibition of the Cyrus Cylinder had been extended for another three months.

The cylinder, which is considered the world’s first charter of human rights, is inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform with an account by Cyrus II, king of Persia (559-530 BC).

It was officially unveiled in a ceremony attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other top diplomats from Iran and other countries, including Russia, England, and Venezuela in Iran’s National Museum.

The 2,500-year-old Cyrus Cylinder was to be temporarily handed over to Iran in September 2009. The British Museum, however, backed out of the agreement, citing Iran’s post-election unrest.

Tehran had earlier said that it would cease cooperation with the British Museum until the cylinder is loaned to the National Museum of Iran.