Archaeological cultural treasure coming to Bergen
The unique exhibition «Legends in Gold

Thracian treasures coming to Bergen

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Archaeological cultural treasure coming to Bergen

The unique exhibition «Legends in Gold –

By: Ove Sjøstrøm/Creato Media

– You will meet beauty that awes you, and you will be introduced to a magical world that we recognise from the Greek and Roman myths and legends.

The unique exhibition «Legends in Gold – Thracian Treasures from Bulgaria» is coming to Bryggens Museum in Bergen this autumn. In recent years, the only places outside Bulgaria where it has been possible to see these artefacts are the Louvre in Paris, the Moscow Museum and the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo.

– You will be awestruck by the beauty, and you will meet a mythological world most Norwegians will recognise from the Greek and Roman legends and myths. Many of these have their origins in the Thracian culture. Orpheus, Apollo and Dionysus are three of the most famous figures, says Per Øyvind Riise, project manager for «Legends in Gold».

Pure gold

Many of the artefacts are made of pure gold and are priceless cultural treasures.

The exhibits range from harnesses to richly decorated vases, but the most distinctive ones are the objects made of silver and gold

Per Øyvind Riise

Per Øyvind Riise

– This can also be seen as an art exhibition. Several thousand year old artefacts, many of them made of gold, were made by skilled craftsmen and have incredibly beautiful designs, he says.

The exhibits stem from a powerful kingdom that had its centre in what is now Bulgaria. There are also traces of the Thracian culture in parts of Romania, Ukraine, Greece, Turkey, Moldova and Macedonia.

– We believe that everyone who visits this exhibition between 2 September and 10 December will permanently change their opinion about Bulgaria. Many people connect Bulgaria with poverty, corruption and holiday tours to Sunny Beach, but in Legends of Gold we meet the proud Bulgarian culture as part of the Greek and Roman heritage.

The exhibition will be on display at Bryggens Museum for three months starting from the opening at the beginning of September 2017.

4000 years ago

The Thracians were a war-like people who fought with each other and with their neighbours. They believed in their own immortality, and they were known for their excellent riding skills. We have read in ancient sources about the gladiator Spartacus, who was a Thracian. Spartacus led the rebellion of the slaves against the Romans in the years 73-72 BC.

The Thracians were mentioned for the first time in Homer’s The Iliad, and according to the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus (484 – 425 BC), they were «the most populous people after the Indians». He describes the Thracians as tall and fair-haired warriors. «If they had been ruled by one man or had agreed with one another, they would in my opinion have been infallible and the most powerful of all peoples…», writes Herodotus.

– The oldest finds on display are from the second millennium BC. The period of time stretches to the Roman era that started around Jesus’ birth. After approximately 400 AD the Thracians seem to have disappeared as a separate people, and we assume that they were incorporated into the Roman or Greek culture, explains Riise.

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Rare exhibition

The exhibition will be on display at Bryggens Museum for three months starting from the opening at the beginning of September 2017.
– The artefacts will be displayed in secure cases because of their high value, but you will be able to get as close as security permits.

– Will it be possible to take pictures?

– Yes, photography will be permitted. We will also launch a range of hashtags that we will link to the exhibition. One of them will be #legenderigull. We want as many people as possible to use social media to share their photographs of the exhibits and their experience of the exhibition.

If you are in Bergen in the autumn, you cannot let this opportunity pass. Visit the exhibition, says the project manager and encourages everyone to come.

– This is a «once in a lifetime» experience. The exhibition is highly unlikely to return to Norway, says Riise and concludes:

– For all those who have an idea about how spectacular an archaeological exhibition can be, and for all those who want to see the «Indiana Jones» collection, this is your chance.

Bergen City Museum manages a good selection of cultural heritage exhibits with its nine museums in Bergen Municipality. In addition to a large number of artefacts of priceless historical value, the City Museum also manages 120 historical buildings. Last year, the number of visitors exceeded 200 000 for the first time in the museum’s history.