Sidon Royal Necropolis & Alexander Sarcophagus Pictures, Images & Photos { 78 images } Created 7 Mar 2012

(updated 2021)
Pictures, images & photos of the Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great from the Royal Necropolis of Sidon now in the Istanbul Archaeological museum. On March 2 1887 workers quarrying north east of Sidon in Lebanon discovered a tomb shaft fifty feet deep. Luckily for history they were so frightened they rushed to bring the Reverend William King Eddy, an American missionary born in Sidon, to the site. Eddy realised immediately that the workers had uncovered an archaeological site and suspected that it was the lost ancient Royal Necropolis of Sidon. He was lowered down the shaft and by the light of flickering candles was confronted with the Sarcophagus of the Lycian, the dazzling Sarcophagus of Alexander and the Sarcophagus of the weeping women. News travelled of the great find to Istanbul and Osman Hamdi Bey who had been appointed the curator of the new Istanbul Archaeological museum left immediately for the Lebanon and took over the excavation and removal of the sarcophagi returning with them to Istanbul. The finds at Sidon put the museum on the world map and the facade of the new museum was inspired by the Alexander Sarcophagus and Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women which the museum houses today. It is incredible how perfectly preserved the Sarcophagi are. The Sarcophagus of the Lycian is a pristine grey marble from Paros with hunting scenes and 2 sphinxes adorning its gothic stele pitched roof. The Alexander Sarcophagus is a monumental work of art befitting one of the great leaders of antiquity. 11 feet long (4 Mts) it weighs fifty tons and is made of Pentelic marble. The freezes on each side show Alexander in the midst of battles and in hunting scenes, These relief sculptures were originally painted in bright colours and some of the paint is still visible today. Finally but not least the Royal Necropolis held the "Sarcophagus of the Satrap".

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