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Ancient Bust of Nefertiti Returns to Berlin


One of the world's great art treasures, a 3,300-year-old bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti, has been returned to a museum complex in the former East Berlin, more than 65 years after it was removed for safekeeping during World War II.

The finely wrought limestone bust has been widely admired since it was first put on public display in 1923. It was exhibited during the postwar years in West Berlin, at the Egyptian Museum in Charlottenburg, but is now back at the Museuminsel (Museum Island) complex in the eastern part of the German capital.

Plans call for the Nefertiti bust to be returned to the Neuesmuseum, or New Museum, where it stood until 1939, once the war damaged site is fully restored in 2009. For the next four years, the bust will be on display at the Museuminsel's AltesMuseum or Old Museum.

The ancient Egyptian queen's permanent home is still in dispute, however. Egypt's government announced last month it is demanding the return of Nefertiti and four other precious Egyptian artifacts currently on display at other museums in Germany, in the Louvre in Paris and in Boston.

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