Spain threatens legal action over Mosque beams
9 March 2006, CORDOBA — Spain has asked Interpol to stop the auction of five 10th century wooden beams originally from Cordoba's mosque, a World Heritage site.
9 March 2006
CORDOBA — Spain has asked Interpol to stop the auction of five 10th century wooden beams originally from Cordoba's mosque, a World Heritage site.
Madrid is also threatening legal action to stop the sale.
An investigation is underway to find out how the beams arrived on the open market.
The carved and painted larch beams were due to be sold at London fine art auctioneer Christie's on 4 April.
The Spanish culture minister said in a statement: "The Culture Ministry has asked the world heritage brigade of the national police, via Interpol, to investigate the legal situation of the five beams from the Cordoba mosque."
Cordoba's mosque is a UNESCO World Heritage site, described on Christie's Web site as "one of the most important monuments in the world".
"The beams were discovered stored at the back of a massive barn where, according to the previous owner, they had lain for decades.
"It had been hoped that they could be used for an architectural project that never materialised, so they remained there, unrecognised, until relatively recently," Christie's said.
The beams were estimated to be worth EUR 291,000-391,000 and had left the mosque by 1928, Christie's added.
Spain has asked British authorities to take charge of the beams until the situation could be clarified.
Under Spanish law, all goods more than 100 years old must have permission for export.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news