|Subject: Re: Care of Antiquities (was: I second Villa Adriana)|
I'm finding this discussion interesting. It was in the mid-80's that I was in Greece and Turkey. When we were going to Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, the guide cautioned that our purses would be taken and held at the entrance while we toured the museum. I didn't like that idea at all, but removed my money, passport, etc. and put them in my pockets. When we entered the museum, no notice was taken at all. We kept our purses. If there were guards present, as there surely must have been, they were totally unrecognizable. There were so many incredible pieces on display, including a number of thrones, set with precious gems, all manner of jewelry, headdresses, sets of serving dishes -- all encrusted with rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, etc., and the knife (I don't know the proper term) with the huge cabochon emerald that was the centerpiece of the movie, Topkapi. The unbelievable part to me was that the museum itself, including all the display cases, was so dirty. The glass cases were covered with handprints and an accumulation of dirt and stains that had been sometime accumulating. The floors appeared not to have been cleaned in weeks (at best), and light bulbs were burned out in most of the displays so that, added to the greasy film on the glass, you couldn't see the items on display very well.
It just contrasted so sharply with most of the museums I'd visited that it was shocking. Is it still that way? I'd be interested in hearing about it from more recent visitors.