Swiss Police Seize Historic Painting Stolen From Serbian Castle In 1993

Swiss police say they seized a historically significant painting stolen from a Serbian castle three decades ago.

Vlaho Bukovac’s Blagovestanski Sabor, which depicts a 1861 assembly of prominent Serbs in the then-Austro-Hungarian empire, was recovered in a raid in Zurich on August 11, police said.

“This painting is considered an important national cultural property in Serbia,” police said.

Blagovestanski Sabor, or the Annunciation Assembly, is viewed as a significant event in the history of the Serbs.

At the meeting, the Serbian elite sought political autonomy for territories inhabited mostly by Serbs from the empire, which then controlled much of Central and Southern Europe.

Police arrested a 44-year-old Serb and a 76-year-old Swiss-Serbian dual national in the raid on a house in the Swiss financial center.

The painting was stolen in 1993 from Celarevo Castle in northern Serbia.

Swiss police said they worked in close cooperation with Serbian authorities in the investigation.

Serbian media reported that the two men tried to sell the painting for several hundred thousands dollars.

Based on reporting by AFP and Neue Zuericher Zeitung