Cyprus has had several successes in its ongoing efforts to protect its heritage. The Cyprus Department of Antiquities was established in 1935 for the purpose of protecting and preserving the island’s vast archeological heritage. It works to promote the island’s tourism-a major economical asset of the nation, maintain the museums, and conduct archeological surveys and excavations.
The Department of Antiquities, in cooperation with the Cyprus police force, the Church of Cyprus, and several art and antiquities collectors, is dedicated to informing INTERPOL, other police forces around the world, and the international art market about stolen or looted items. This ambition and persistence has led to the recovery of many items stolen from occupied Cyprus.
More recently, the Department of Antiquities has taken important steps to protect Cyprus’ underwater cultural heritage. The Department’s primary goals are to form an Underwater Antiquities’ Ephorate, to establish permanent laboratories for the conservation of underwater antiquities, and to create permanent exhibition centers for these artifacts.
The renewal of Cyprus’ bilateral agreement with the U.S. would be one more step taken to protect its cultural property. Below are examples of artifacts covered by the agreement.