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Parthenon Sculptures

Why is it in the news?

  • Greece and the UK are in a diplomatic dispute over the status of the Parthenon Sculptures housed at the British Museum.

About Parthenon Sculptures

  • Also known as the Elgin Marbles, they are classical Greek marble sculptures originally part of the Parthenon temple dedicated to the goddess Athena on the Acropolis hills of Athens.
  • The Parthenon was constructed in the 5th century BC, symbolizing the power of Athens.
  • It became a symbol for modern Greece after gaining independence in 1832.
  • Majority of the sculptures created under the direction of sculptor and architect Phidias.
  • Removed by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, in the early 19th century. It was taken to Britain and purchased by the British Museum in 1816.
  • Lord Elgin asserted permission from Ottoman authorities, but Athens accuses him of theft.


International Agreements on Cultural Property TraffickingDetails
UN Resolution 2347Related to the protection of cultural heritage.
1970 UNESCO ConventionOn the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. India is a signatory to the Convention.

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