Bergrummet, Skeppsholmen 09 September 2011
Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Minister for Culture
Speech by Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth at the inauguration of the INKA exhibition
Check against delivery.
Dear honored guests.
I am both proud and pleased to have the honor to inaugurate the exhibition Inca - Gold Treasures here today.
I am also pleased that the Swedish National Museums of World Culture once again hosts an exhibition of world class. The previous exhibition China's terracotta army was a huge audience success with over 330,000 visitors and is Sweden's most visited exhibition. The unique cavern on Skeppsholmen then opened up to the public under the name the Rock Galleries. It is pleasing that the museum audience once again is given the opportunity to see one of the world's great cultural treasures in this magnificent environment.
The exhibition Inca - Gold Treasures includes new archaeological findings from the Inca Empire, and also its predecessor. The Inca Empire was one of history's great civilizations, to the surface 4 000 km long and covered a territory of more than 3 million square kilometers. It's almost hard to imagine but the Inca Empire stretched over four climatic zones. Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and is still existing. Probably Machu Picchu, the pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site high up in the mountains in Peru, is a more known part of the Inca Empire. Machu Picchu is today one of the top tourist destinations in Peru. Since 1983 Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Inca Empire was a complex and high civilization. They managed to successfully incorporate various ancient cultures with their contemporaries. It was also a fascinating civilization that applied rotation in cultivation, had effective communications and irrigation systems that still are in use today. It is gratifying that the culture many believed was wiped out still partially survives. Many crops from the Inca Empire have become global food and a large proportion of those living in today's Peru are descendants of the Incas.
I have been informed that the exhibition Inca - Gold Treasures features over 300 gold objects from South America that has never before been shown in Sweden. It is also the largest lending from Peru ever, with items from a total of 15 museums.
As Minister of Culture, I am convinced that we all need to take part of our cultural heritage in order to understand our present and try to orient ourselves into the future. We travel as never before and in contact with other cultures, we gain new perspective on our own. Often it is curiosity about other cultures and heritage sites that attracts us to travel. There are so many places to see and experience. I have a couple of occasions had the privilege of visiting South America and Peru, and I was filled with reverence at the Incas remains.
In the coming months, the Swedish public will have access to the Incas lost world in the Rock Galleries on Skeppsholmen - an opportunity to learn more about the encounter between Europe and South America. After personally experiencing the rich Peruvian culture, I am confident that this exhibition helps to make the historical links visible.
I hereby declare the exhibition opened!