Roman sarcophagus of Hercules welcomes visitors in Turkey
ANKARA, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Roman sarcophagus of Hercules, which was smuggled abroad 50 years ago, was put on display in an official ceremony on Sunday at its home in Turkey's Mediterranean resort of Antalya.
The sarcophagus was delivered to Turkish officials in Geneva, Switzerland on Sept. 13 and returned back to Turkey in the following day, local Hurriyet daily reported.
Speaking at the ceremony at the Antalya Museum, Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that it was not easy to bring such pieces back to their homes, adding that the ministry was in contact with foreign authorities to return 57 pieces back to Turkey.
The ancient Roman artifact was found during illegal excavations in the ancient city of Perge in Antalya and smuggled out of the country in late 1960s.
The marble sarcophagus, which depicts the 12 labors of Hercules, is authenticated to be sculpted around the end of the 2nd century AD, according to experts and archaeologists.
In 2015, a Swiss court ruled that it should be returned to Turkey which has sought its return since 2011.
Since 2003, Turkey has been seeking a legal process for the retrieval of several artifacts. Over 4,000 smuggled artifacts were repatriated to Turkey from 2004 to 2016, according to official statistics.