Everywhere in ancient cities you will find "souvenirs" in the form of potsherds with the remains of decorations, amphora handles, roof tiles, processed marble lumps, pieces of glass and much more.
And if you dig in the earth, there is a lot more appearing to the day. The best options are of course where there are just few tourists and where the archaeologists have not yet been. There are of course broken columns, capitals, and sarcophagi, and they would undoubtedly decorate any garden; just logistical problems could possibly arise during transport.
Museums and individuals around the world have taken over a good portion of Turkish cultural heritage over the years, which has now been regulated by strict legislation for several years. And what then falls under the term “cultural treasure” is often the responsibility of the inspecting officer. Sometimes it is a simple pebble from the beach, which at least leads to considerable delays in control.
It is strictly forbidden to destroy or remove objects from prehistoric or historical times, regardless of whether they are above or below the ground or on the seabed. The penalty for doing so ranges from a prison sentence of 2-5 years to a fine of 5,000 to 10,000 Turkish Lira. And if you think about smuggling Turkish cultural assets out of the country, you can be fined up to twice as high. Nobody is likely to get upset about a few pot shards, but where the border is actually going to be uncertain.
So better: stay away and leave it there!!
- Allan Huglstad
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