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Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

The Apoxyomenos Museum in Kvarner Palace in Mali Losinj will open on 30 April and Apoxyomenos will "return home", heard a press conference held by Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic, Tourism Minister Anton Kliman and Mayor of Mali Losinj Gari Capelli on Friday in the Mimara Museum in Zagreb marking the end of this extensive restoration project.

The ancient bronze 192-centimetre sculpture weighing 300 kilogrammes, the only one of its kind found on the eastern Adriatic coast will find its home in the reconstructed Kvarner Palace which has been transformed into a museum just for this purpose and will house "just one but exceptionally valuable exhibit." The reconstruction of the palace cost HRK 25 million with the Culture Ministry and City of Mali Losinj provided half the funding each.

Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic said that he was pleased that the Apoxyomenos would arrive home where it belonged and that he would be even more pleased if a copy was to 'find' its way to the ministry and the idea was well accepted by Mayor Capelli.

According to Minister Hasanbegovic the Apoxyomenos project was confirmation of the quality of Croatian cultural institutions, particularly the Croatian Conservation Institute and its team of experts. Hasanbegovic considers this to be an example of good cultural policy and the revitalisation of cultural centres outside Zagreb and an example of strategic cultural cooperation between the state and local government.

Tourism minister Anton Kliman said that this was a great event for tourism because this is a good destination product and added that "tourism doesn't just happen it needs to be managed." He added that this was a good example for other areas that have cultural wealth which there is plenty of in Croatia that can be used positively to develop their tourism.

The Croatian Apoxyomenos ("Scraper") is one of the few preserved Greek statues that once decorated Greek shrines and cities. It represents an athlete, caught in the familiar act of scraping sweat and dust from his body with a small curved instrument that the Romans called a strigil. The statue was recovered by divers in the sea near the islet of Vele Orjule near Losinj in the northern Adriatic in 1999. The statue seems to date back to the 2nd or 1st centuries BC from a Greek foundry as a copy of its original created in the 4th century BC.

Restoration on the statue began in October 2000 and was completed in 2006 and since then the statue has been exhibited in Croatia and abroad. This Apoxyomenos sculpture was exhibited in the Louvre from 23 November 2012 to 25 February 2013. After the exhibition in the British Museum in mid-2015 , the statute "travelled" to the John Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for an exhibition on ancient arts.

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