Across the world, UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage list not only aims to protect monuments and buildings, but also customs and traditions. The latter end up on the so-called Intangible Cultural Heritage list.UNESCO World Heritage Site: that’s what the world’s most beautiful and impressive buildings are allowed to be called.
Among them are the Tower of London and the Great Wall of China. And there are plenty of candidates vying for a spot on this coveted list. So much so, that 3,000 experts are meeting again this week to decide which sites will be short-listed.
But this World Heritage list isn’t just limited to buildings. Each year, UNESCO also publishes a list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The phrase might sound a bit awkward, but it’s apt because it consists of everyday traditions from around the world that are non-material. They include forms of expression such as choral singing, handicrafts such the manufacture of North German thatched roofs and customs such as caroling or spoken stories such as Grimm’s fairy tales.
Traditions are passed on from generation to generation, and give people the feeling of belonging to a community. This is what UNESCO aims to safeguard. Since 2003, the organization has worked in some 170 countries around the world to protect intangible cultural heritage. Once a tradition makes it on to the national list, it can become a candidate for the international list.
In Germany, 34 traditions have landed on the list this year. We present five of them in our galley above.
And for a look at more German cultural heritage being considered by UNESCO, click through the Bauhaus gallery below.