Lonely Planet Writer

Unesco safeguards 23 intangible heritage items

A globe spanning list of intangible heritage items were acknowledged by Unesco last week in order to highlight their importance, and to safeguard, various cultural practices.

Wititi dance of the Colca Valley.
Wititi dance of the Colca Valley. Image by Jorge Gobbi / CC BY 2.0

Intangible heritage items include rituals, festivals, traditional arts and craftsmanship and social practices, and according to Unesco, the list testifies to the diversity of forms of expression in the world.

From artistic endeavours like marble carving in Tinos, to the “symbol of generosity” of sharing Arabic coffee in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar, the cultural practices are deemed to be important enough to be recognized as important world heritage. Bagpipers in Slovakia, kimchi makers in North Korea and traditional dancers in Bali and Romania, were all included on the list.

Legong Dance is a classic Balinese dance.
Legong Dance is a classic Balinese dance. Image by w sulistio / CC BY 2.0

Five items were also recognized as cultural items in need of urgent safeguarding, which include the traditional Vallento music of the Greater Magdalena region in Colombia; a coaxing ritual for camels in Mongolia; the manufacture of cowbells in Portugal; Glosoechko, male two-part singing in Dolni Polog in the former Republic of Macedonia; and the Koogere oral tradition in Uganda.

Seoul Kimchi Making & Sharing Festival in 2014
Seoul Kimchi Making & Sharing Festival in 2014 Image by Republic of Korea / CC BY 2.0

While the Unesco compilation includes a huge amount of world heritage onto one list, it provides a incredible glimpse into a variety of world cultures.

The convention for the safeguarding of intangible heritage was created in 2003, and recognised the need to raise awareness about cultural practices that had no legal protection. This year, 23 elements were added to the list out of 35 that were proposed.

Unesco’s list of 23 intangible heritage items is as follows:

Algeria’s Sbuâ, am annual pilgrimage to the zawiya of Sidi El Hadj Belkacem in Gourara;

Andorra, Spain and France’s summer solstice fire festivals in the Pyrenees;

Argentina’s filete porteño in Buenos Aires, a traditional painting technique;

Austria’s classical horsemanship as well as the High School of the Spanish Riding School Vienna;

Azerbaijan’s copper craftsmanship of Lahij;

Bulgaria’s Surova folk feast in Pernik region;

Cambodia, Philippines, Republic of Korea and Vietnam’s tugging rituals and games;

Colombia and Ecuador’s marimba music, along with traditional chants and dances from Colombia’s South Pacific region and Ecuador’s Esmeraldas Province;

the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s tradition of kimchi-making;

Ethiopia’s Fichee-Chambalaalla, a New Year festival of the Sidama people;

Greece’s Tinian marble craftsmanship;

Indonesia’s three genres of traditional dance in Bali;

Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan’s Aitysh/Aitys, an art of improvisation;

Namibia’s Oshituthi shomagongo, the marula fruit festival;

Peru’s Wititi dance of the Colca Valley;

Romania’s lad’s dances;

Saudi Arabia’s Alardah Alnajdiyah of dance, drumming and poetry;

Slovakia’s bagpipe culture;

Turkmenistan’s epic art of Gorogly;

the United Arab Emirates and Oman’s Al-Razfa, a traditional performing art;

from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Arabic coffee, a symbol of generosity and Majlis, a cultural and social space;

and Venezuela’s traditional knowledge and technologies relating to the growing and processing of the Curagua.

Read Unesco’s full description of each item listed here.