Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cultural artifacts seized in Canada returned to grateful owners

A cultural treasure trove of more than 20,000 rare coins, jewels and other artifacts from ancient Europe — much of it seized from suspected smugglers by police and Canadian customs officers four years ago in Montreal — was handed over to Bulgaria's culture minister on Friday during a special ceremony at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

The collection of objects, including at least 18,000 coins from the Roman Empire and other ancient civilizations, was described as spanning "more than 2,600 years" of the history of the Balkan nation.

The objects encompass aspects of Greek, Roman, Macedonian, Byzantine, Bulgarian and Ottoman cultural heritage, officials said.

Bounded in the south and east by Greece, Turkey and the Black Sea, Bulgaria was for centuries a hub of trade, migration and war at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

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