Azerbaijan`s first lady, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva has visited Pius-Clementine Museum as part of her trip to the Vatican.
The first lady viewed the art samples and monuments restored with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
The museum was commissioned by Popes Clement XIV (1769-1774) and Pius VI (1775-1799) to collect the most important Greek and Roman masterpieces in the Vatican.
Valuable samples of architecture related to the Antique and Renaissance periods are preserved at the museum. Located in the Belvedere Palace, the museum is included in the Vatican museums complex and is distinguished by universal richness in terms of the number of exhibits and historical significance.
The museum is comprised of a courtyard, an animals room, a statues gallery, the Rotonda room, the Greek cross room, the gallery of busts and other divisions. Antique statues related to the time of Pope Julius II are displayed in its courtyard. Restoration works were carried out here in 1775, following the instructions of Pope Pius VII. Among the valuable exhibits of the museum, statues such as "Laocoön and His Sons", "Apollo Belvedere", "Hermes" and others are considered to be art works of universal significance. There are statues of about 150 animals in the animals room. A number of famous sculptors and artists were involved in the restoration of these statues. Part of the exhibits in the hall - second to none in the world by the richness - accommodates copies of antique works preserved in Greece and Rome. A summer pavilion of Pope Innocent VIII was located in the statues gallery. Over 100 works related to the Renaissance period have been gathered in the busts gallery of the museum.
Director of the Vatican Museums Antonio Paolucci thanked the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, especially Azerbaijan`s first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and applauded her role in preserving the pieces of world culture.
President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State Giuseppe Bertello expressed gratitude to the Azerbaijani state and president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva. He stressed the importance of continuing such dialogues in terms of the development of Azerbaijani-Vatican relations.
Mehriban Aliyeva said Azerbaijan was interested in continuing this cooperation.
First lady Mehriban Aliyeva viewed cupboards in Sala Sistina Grand Hall of Apostolic Library. The restoration of the cupboards is being carried out with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
Azerbaijan`s first lady Mehriban Aliyeva then met with President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal of the Catholic Church Gianfranco Ravasi.
Following the meeting, Cardinal Ravasi spoke about the projects to be implemented as part of the future cooperation with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. He said this cooperation contributed to intercultural and interreligious dialogue, and applauded Azerbaijan`s role on this front.
First lady Mehriban Aliyeva highlighted the importance of the restoration of the catacombs of Saints Marcelline and Peter.
The president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation noted that this cooperation played an important role in improving inter-civilization dialogue.
Azerbaijan`s first lady, president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, cardinal of the Catholic Church Gianfranco Ravasi signed the agreement for the restoration of St. Sebastian Sarcophagi.
The signing ceremony was followed by a question-and-answer session. Responding to questions from journalists, Mehriban Aliyeva said Azerbaijan was a crossroads of religions and cultures. "There has never been any religious or ethnic conflict in Azerbaijan." She highlighted the projects of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Azerbaijan and various parts of the world. "Restoration of the catacombs of Saints Marcelline and Peter is a perfect example of excellent cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Vatican," Mehriban Aliyeva said.
Cardinal Ravasi highlighted the cooperation between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Vatican. "This cooperation includes ties with Vatican museums, restoration of ancient manuscripts and other issues," he added.