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Hunting for Napoleon’s Treasure

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Napoleon’s TreasureThe Center of Napoleon Treasure Hunt opened and based in Moscow announced on the start-up of the digging works in summer 2010 aimed to discover the legendary treasure dispatched from the robbed Moscow by the defeated army of the great Napoleon. The diggings will end up in the year 2012 and nobody knows whether they will be fruitful since it’s about two hundred years since Napoleon’s Treasure has been hunted for by many groups of diggers and hunters from all over the world.

In the autumn 1812 Napoleonic army invaded Moscow city with the triumph and the city was wholly robbed and plundered. The looters did not give up taking away valuable items from private houses and churches. They robbed the Kremlin, the place that was quite reputed place to rob. The plunders took away thousands of golden coins, icon framings, and gold and silver bars and even the cross from the great Ivan the Great bell tower. Soon after the invaders found out they would not get better in Moscow any longer they eventually arranged to escape from Russia.

By some particular sources every soldier of the Napoleonic army had around ten kg of jewelry on him while escaping along the Smolensk Road. There were two hundred carts equipped with the Emperor’s loot. However, the French army was not ready enough for the Russian frosts and they terribly suffered from frost, hunger and partisan actions. So, they were forced to hide the plunder putting high hopes to come back again for the treasure. As different sources state, the captured cart of Napoleon was either buried or sunk. And since then gold hunters have spent time and money to dig out what was plundered.

The hunting for the Napoleonic treasure was initiated in the 19th century. Thus, in 1835 a many-volumed work «Life of Napoléon Bonaparte» by Walter Scott was released in France. In his book Walter Scott depicted the events when the plunder from Moscow city was thrown to sikn and into the Semlev Lake that is in Smolensk region. Nikolay Khmelnitskiy who was the governor in Smolensk city flashed with the incredible idea to dig the treasure. Nevertheless, the diggings were not successful in regards to jewelry and treasure. The explorers still affirm that hunting for the Napoleonic treasure was initially loosing.

The Ugra River banks situated in the Smolensk region is another point to start diggings. There is a cemetery of French guardsmen. As the eyewitness say the French soldiers would tell they fell behind the major army troops and they would not risk traveling back to France: they were afraid to be accused of desertion. There was another myth that the French soldiers have been still hunting for the treasure they buried in the Smolensk lands.

A group of German soldiers appeared there in 1942 supervised by the officer Moser driven with the treasure hunting. They managed to dig out four leather bags full of golden coins as well as plenty of household utensils and church accessories. All the treasure was buried at the base of the memorial to one of the Napoleonic guardsman. Apparently the French soldier made some attempts to take the jewelry out of Russia and thus, they are considered the part of the legendary Napoleonic treasure. However, the main trophy, the cart of the Emperor, has never been found yet.

The treasure hunters have always considered the ways to dig out Napoleonic treasure and another burst of interest arouse in summer 2010 when The Center of Napoleon Treasure Hunt in Moscow announced on initiating of diggings and involvement of volunteers. Andrey Seregin, the historian, and Vladimir Poryvaev, the treasure hunter who manage and supervise the organization assert that they found out new information that reveals locality of the legendary wealth.

Seregin tells that he would meet a fellow-citizen who lived in France for a long time exploring the archive documents regarding the Napoleonic army retreat. As a result he succeeded in finding a gravure depicting the French lord from Napoleon environment. The gravure was embroidered with numerous stars. When the explorer thoroughly examined the location of stars, he contrived to calculate the territory where the treasure was buried. Another reference point for treasure hunters was the cocked hat of the nobleman thrown onto the ground. When a copy of the cocked hat is laid over the map, the cockade will point to the hunting place with high precision.

Seregin managed to involve qualified historians and mathematicians to interpret the gravure and they only confirmed the initially made guess that the gravure was not only the art work but the unique map pointing the precise reference points of the particular area. The issue was about eighty tons of gold.

The explorers differ in one issue only that the plunder has not arrived to France and thus, the Napoleonic treasure is still the issue to arouse interest till nowadays.

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