Let’s talk about Cultural Heritage!

This article will introduce you to Cultural Heritage and its categories.

ICOMOS says that Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage

UNESCO has a definition that Cultural heritage is, in its broadest sense, both a product and a process, which provides societies with a wealth of resources that are inherited from the past, created in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations. 

To sum up, we can say that Cultural Heritage is history, culture, and traditions either in tangible or intangible forms and that are meaningful for the people and passed down from generation to generation

Here, we can also mention the world heritage list that UNESCO has and does for its preservation, protection, and sustainability. This list includes 1121 cultural properties all around the world. However, there are much more cultural heritage assets worldwide which are nor listed in the UNESCO list.

What are the categories of Cultural Heritage? Look at the infographic below.

Cultural Heritage divides into, not surprisingly, Cultural Heritage, Natural Heritage and Mixed Heritage. In its turn, Cultural Heritage, as you may see, has subcategories such as Tangible Heritage and Intangible Heritage. Tangible Heritage can be Movable or Immovable. 

Items of Movable Cultural Heritage may include artworks and historical, archaeological, numismatic, philatelic, science or technology objects. 

Immovable Cultural Heritage are historical buildings, monuments, archeological sites.

Intangible Cultural Heritage includes oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

Natural heritage refers to natural features, geological and physiographical formations and delineated areas that constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants and natural sites of value from the point of view of science, conservation of natural beauty. It includes private and publicly protected natural areas, zoos, aquaria and botanical gardens, natural habitat, marine ecosystems, sanctuaries, reservoirs etc.

Mixed Heritage is a site that combines both natural base and human-making intervention and shaping. 

Let us share with you examples of each category and subcategory for better understanding.

  • Cultural Heritage in the tangible immovable form is Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley in Afghanistan. 
  • Natural Heritage is Doñana National Park in Andalusia, Spain.
  • Mixed Heritage is the Wadi Rum Protected Area in Jordan. 
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage is the knowledge of Zlakusa pottery making in Serbia.

Also, we have a transboundary protected area which is an ecological protected area that spans boundaries of more than one country or subnational entity. 

Example – Maloti-Drakensberg Park is a World Heritage site on the border of Lesotho and South Africa.

Another category that, unfortunately, can be included is Cultural Heritage in danger. According to the UNESCO list, there are 53 properties in danger worldwide, however, it is only fair to say that there are much more cultural sites in danger from political, military, natural or destructive human actions. 

Following recent news the world has seen, on 4 August 2020, a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, exploded, as a consequence, a lot of cultural heritage were damaged or destroyed and many of them are currently in danger. Another example is the Nagorno-Karabakh war conflict where 4,000 cultural heritage sites of Nagorno-Karabakh were and are in danger. We cannot forget the Turkish case with converting Aya Sophia from a museum into a mosque. It must be mentioned that Aya Sophia was under UNESCO protection, where Turkish government did its actions without UNESCO consent, thereby putting danger to old Byzantian frescoes and other objects. 

Shusha Cathedral of the XIX century
was fired upon by the Azerbaijani military in November, 2020.

To conclude, we want to say that all of us in the world are responsible for protecting cultural heritage because it is a shared humanity and world history. The history of peoples’ cultural and historical evolution. 

We would be very happy if you like our post or even share it with your friends and family, thereby contributing to awareness about cultural heritage protection issue.

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