In Cyprus, as of 1905, undiscovered antiquities are considered state property. A notification obligation with guarantees of origin for ancient finds is introduced in order to protect to preserve these finds.

What is considered cultural property in Cyprus?

Antiquities are considered cultural property in Cyprus. This includes all movable and immovable objects of architecture importance, as well as paintings, graphics and sculptures, and other forms of art, if they were made and found in Cyprus over 100 years ago.

For works of church and folk art that have a special archaeological, artistic or historical value, slightly different conditions apply: they must have been created before 1940, but their place of origin does not matter.

What are the export regulations?

A license is required for the export of cultural goods from Cyprus. In principle, the export of ancient objects from Northern Cyprus is prohibited, whereby stones, fossils, pieces of clay and “old-looking objects” also fall into this category.

What sanctions are there?

Prison sentences of up to five years and fines of up to 45,000 euros for the illegal export or the aiding and abetting of the illegal export of cultural property may be enforced. Furthermore, prison sentences are enforced and fines imposed for violations of customs or trade laws.

Chronology of cultural property protection laws

  • 1869
    Edict of Safiet Pasha, Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
    Edict on the collection of antiquities in Constantinople and the introduction of an export ban
  • 1874
    Ottoman Antiquities Law
    Regulation of the movement of excavated antiquities and the division of finds
  • 1905
    Antiquities Law No. 4
    Reporting obligations and guarantees of origin for ancient finds; regulations and licenses for excavations, trade and export
  • 1935
    Antiquities Law No. 41
    The export of pieces that are of public interest may be prohibited
  • 1953
    Antiquities Law No. 53
    In 1953, the Antiquities Law is revised. Export licenses must now be applied for no later than ten days before the date of export. If an antique was purchased in an official Cypriot museum or from a licensed antique dealer, the export license can be obtained from the director through the seller. The piece must be checked, numbered and sealed by the director.
  • 1964
    The Hague Convention of 1954
    Protection of the cultural property of countries in the event of armed conflict
  • 1997
    UNESCO 1970 Convention
    Means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property
  • 2001
    Hague Convention, Second Protocol of 1999
    Clarification and extension of the 1954 Hague Convention
  • 2002
    Law No. 182
    Measures to regulate the export of antiquities
  • 2002
    Law No. 183
    Return of cultural property illegally exported from the countries of origin
  • 2006
    Antiquities Law Chapter 31
    Revision of the Antiquities Law; raising the age limit for cultural objects