14 experiences get UNESCO heritage status. How many have you had? | Condé Nast Traveller India


It’s not just grand monuments and historical sites that UNESCO recognises every year. Some of the most unique cultural practices and expressions across the world are also granted intangible heritage status to keep them from fading with time. From Azerbaijan’s art of miniature painting to Kupres’ grass-mowing competition to the practice of growing and eating couscous, here’s what made it to the list in 2020: 

Art of miniature from Azerbaijan

Miniature art. Photo: CPA Media/Alamy Stock Photo
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This beautiful form of art is found on books, rugs, textiles, walls, ceramics, architecture, paintings and many other objects. The patterns represent beliefs, worldviews and lifestyles in a pictorial fashion. Miniature art takes centre stage at many souvenir shops in Azerbaijan, and whoever visits often takes back some form of this art. 

Budima Dance from Zambia 

The Wee community from Zambia perform the warrior dance at weddings, funeral processions and ceremonies. Spears, whistles, walking sticks, knobkerries, flutes, ceremonial axes, shields, horns, trumpets, drums and rattles are just some of the many props women, men and children use to perform. 

Camel-racing in Oman

Camel owners racing their camels in the Omani region of Barka, about 90 kms north of Muscat. Photo: MOHAMMED MAHJOUB/AFP/ Getty Images)

Camel-racing in Oman is a grand affair and the preparation involves several stages. Camels are selected based on type, origin and age and are given a special diet, and are trained to take part in these races. The distance covered by the camel depends on its age.

Chamame from Argentina

Devotees of folk saint Gauchito Gil dance chamame to honour him, near Mercedes, in the Argentine province of Corrientes. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP/Getty Images)

Chamame is a form of dance practiced in the Corrientes province of Argentina. The close embrace dance is performed without a set choreography and improvised along the way.  

Charfia fishing in Tunisia

A fisherman sets his traditional net up in the Kekennah sea. Photo: In Pictures Ltd/Corbis/Getty Images

Charfia fishing in the Kerkennah Islands is a traditional, passive fishing technique that capitalises on the hydrographic conditions, seabed contours and natural resources both at sea and on land,” explains the UNESCO website. “The ‘charfia’ is a fixed fishery system consisting of palm fronds embedded in the seabed to create a triangular barrier, blocking the path of the fish pulled in by the ebb tide and channelling them into capture chambers and finally into a net or trap. Unlike bottom trawling systems that scrape the seabed, the traps keep the fish alive and fasting until raised.” 

Craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking and art mechanics from Switzerland

The manufacturing of a watch at Le Sentier, Vallee de Joux, Switzerland. Photo: Image Professionals GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo

The Jura Arc area in Switzerland is known for its highly qualified craftspeople and companies that promote these skills. Earlier, entire families would be invested in the skill and developing apprenticeship practices.

Grass mowing competition in Kupres

This annual competition is one of the most important social events here. It takes place at Strljanica and involves the manual mowing of grass using a scythe. Time, effort and the amount mown are the deciding factors for the winner. 

Hawker culture in Singapore

People gather at the Hawkers Centre at lunchtime in Singapore. Photo: Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

Some of Singapore’s most delicious food is found at the city’s hawker markets that evolved from street food culture. Chinese and Malay to India, all kinds of cuisines are served at these markets. Some of these hawkers have been around since the 1960s. They specialise in one dish that has been refined over the years, and these recipes are passed down generations. 

Knowledge, know-how and practices pertaining to the production and consumption of couscous in Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia

Tfaya couscous with candied fruit and onions. Photo: Simon Reddy/ Alamy Stock Photo

“Preparing couscous is a ceremonial process involving several different operations. These begin with growing the cereal, after which the seeds are ground to obtain a semolina that is rolled by hand, steamed and then cooked…Couscous is a dish replete with symbols, meanings and social and cultural dimensions all linked to solidarity, conviviality, sharing meals and togetherness,” according to the UNESCO World Heritage website. 

Nar Bayrami, traditional pomegranate festivity and culture celebrated in Azerbaijan

The annual festival celebrated in October and November in Azerbaijan’s Goychay region celebrates the pomegranate and its traditional uses and symbolic meaning. 

Traditional weaving of Al Sadu 

Al Sadu means weaving carried out horizontally in Arabic, and it is a type of woven textile made by Bedouin women. The weaving is a form of warp-faced plain weave made on a ground loom. The cloth forms a tightly woven, durable textile and the weavers make use of natural fibres.

Wine horses in Spain 

Photo: David Dixon/Alamy Stock Photo

Los Caballos del Vino (Wine Horses) is an equestrian ritual that involves dressing horses that trot through a parade in cloaks richly embroidered in silk and gold thread. Knowledge and techniques relating to caring for, breeding, harnessing and handling the horses are transmitted within families and groups, and the embroidery techniques are learned in workshops and embroidery families

Yeondeunghoe, lantern lighting festival in the Republic of Korea

Participants in a parade during Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul, Korea. Photo: Yaacov Dagan/ Alamy Stock Photo

On Shakyamuni Buddha’s birthday every year, the entire country lights up with lanterns. Streets are adorned with colourful lotus lanterns and crowds gather for a celebratory parade. The lighting of the lanterns also symbolises enlightening the minds of people through Buddha’s wisdom.

Zlakusa pottery making, hand-wheel pottery-making in the village of Zlakusa

Ceramics Souvenir of Zlakusa, Serbia. Photo: Ollirg/Getty Images

Handcrafted in the Zlakusa village of Serbia from clay and calcite, these pots are used in households and restaurants across Serbia. The process takes seven to 10 days, and includes the preparation of clay paste, shaping, decoration, finishing, drying and baking. The finished vessels are decorated with geometrical ornaments made with wooden or metal tools.

 



Updated: December 17, 2020 — 12:52 pm

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