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Irina Bokova attends the opening of the first Bulgarian exhibition in the Louvre

On 14 April, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova joined Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov and French Minister of state for European Affairs Harlem Desir at the official opening of the first Bulgarian exhibition in the Louvre entitled The Epic of the Thracian Kings, which will showcase the most impressive treasures of ancient Thrace.

Visitors of the landmark French museum will be able to enjoy 1 628 artifacts from 17 Bulgarian museums displayed in four halls in the Richelieu Wing,  the central piece being a life-size bronze head of Thracian ruler Seuthes III. Likewise, the Panagyurishte ritual beverage set -- the most prized gold treasure of the inhabitants of ancient Thrace, will arouse great interest.

Beyond the stunning gold and silver objects, the exhibition will showcase the tools used to carve the pieces, thus giving an insight into the lifestyle of the Thracian people.

The exact replicas of four Thracian tombs from central Bulgaria, where some of the precious finds were uncovered, will be displayed for the first time.

The exhibition will provide an opportunity to promote the image of Bulgaria as one of the European countries with the richest cultural heritage, famous also for the fact that the ancient Thracian singer and musician Orpheus was born and lived on its land.

The preparation of the exhibition started back in 2012 when Bulgarian Minister of Culture Vezhdi Rashidov signed a five-year cooperation agreement with the Louvre.

Bulgaria's Ambassador to France Angel Tcholakov, the Permanent delegate to UNESCO Alexander Savov,  French singer of Bulgarian origin Silvie Vartan, diplomats and intellectuals attended the opening too.

The estimates are that the collection will be seen by up to 4 million visitors.