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Treasures of 16th-century shipwreck may become public soon

Danish Curator Clausen Pederson is working upon a project to recover the remains of a 16th-century shipwreck. The Gagiana, as the ship was named, sunk on its famous journey to Istanbul’s sultan. It had a large treasure on board, much of which remains preserved but under the deep sea. Now, Pederson is working along with the Croatian government and a large team to make the treasure of the shipwreck available to art lovers across the globe.

The Gagiana began its journey in the 16th century from Venice in Italy. The ship was laden with a variety of items, including wine glasses, chandeliers, cannons & cannonballs, beads, leather-framed spectacles and a rather peculiar 170-foot long roll of embroidered silk. This impressive assortment of items came from cities across Europe – Vienna, Venice, Nuremberg, Berlin and Lumbeck. The final destination for this ship was the Ottoman sultan Murad III in Istanbul for his new palace. 

However, the ship never reached its destination. Nobody knows why, but the ship sank in the Adriatic Sea near the coast of Croatia. Over the years, many legends about this mysterious sinking have emerged. The most popular one suggests that the ship was drowned by the captain who ran away with the diamonds on board. The ship was insured and hence a full catalogue of its items survive even today. One set was diamonds was mentioned in these papers, but it said that there was another which never was. 

For centuries, the drowned ship rested beneath the waters. Then, in the 1960s, some divers chanced upon the shipwreck and found its treasure, much of which was surprisingly well-preserved. Only a small fraction of the treasure was recovered while the rest was allowed to remain on the seabed. Even among the items recovered, only a small fraction has ever been shown to the public (and exclusively within Croatia). However, now the Croatian government has shown in making the full treasure available for a larger audience. In this endeavour, Clausen Pederson has been a strong supporter. 

Pederson has been seeking support from the shipping industry, who might be interested in this glorious part of the shipping history. The exhibition, whenever it occurs, might be available in multiple locations outside Croatia.