The newly renovated halls feature more than 500 artifacts that mainly date back to the Hellenistic period (312-139 B.C.), some of which were retrieved and renovated after the looting of the museum following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, said
The museum chronicles some 7,000 years of Mesopotamian civilization, including the ancient Babylonians, Sumerians and Assyrians, but remains closed to the general public out of security fears.
But the museum inauguration in
Rashid said the most important artifacts are the statue of King Sanatruq I -- who reigned from around A.D 140 to 180. It shows him wearing a robe and holding a palm leaf in his left hand while extending his right hand in greeting. An eagle on his head extending its wings symbolizes the king's victories.
Also on display was a headless statue of Hercules, the ancient Greek hero famed for his strength, showing him holding a truncheon and a lion skin.
The statues come from the UNESCO World Heritage Site Hatra, which is thought to have been built in the 3rd or 2nd century B.C. by the Seleucid Empire. It flourished during the 1st and 2nd centuries as a religious and trading center.
Hatra is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of
Looters burst into the
The U.S. was widely criticized at the time for failing to protect the site.
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