Visitors delight in Iraq’s reopened National Museum

STORY: The museum was closed for three years due to the coronavirus pandemic and political unrest, then reopened in March this year.

It has since seen an influx of visitors, according to museum officials.

Throughout the years, thousands of ancient artifacts were returned to Iraq, including from the United States and Lebanon - and "a lot of pieces, thousands of pieces, are in the final stages to be returned home," said the director of the guides department at the museum, Wafaa Abdel Jabbar.

According to Abdel Jabbar, among "the most significant pieces that were recently recovered and returned to the Iraqi national museum" is The Gilgamesh Dream Tablet.

The 3,500-year-old clay tablet bearing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the ancient Sumerian tale, is believed to be one of the world’s first pieces of literature.

U.S. authorities seized the Gilgamesh tablet in 2019 after it was smuggled, auctioned, and sold to an arts dealer in Oklahoma and displayed at a museum in Washington, D.C. It was returned to Baghdad in December 2021.