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9 Cool UNESCO Experiences That Aren’t Places

by Travelature Team

For more than four decades, the renowned United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has highlighted and contributed immensely by highlighting cultural heritage having universal value. The latest addition by UNESCO consists of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, including the practices, knowledge, experiences, cultural spaces, artefacts, and much more. The main motive of this addition was to give significance to cultural diversity across the globe and give them due recognition.

Here are treasured 9 Cool UNESCO Cultural Experiences that aren’t places that caught our eye:

9. Tinian Marble Carving

Where: Tinos, Greece

Marble carving is one of the most ancient and appealing art that has gained immense appreciation since the Greek area but the Cycladic island of Tinos is something different. The master sculptures of this island are sure to blow your mind with their creativity and ultimate finesse. They can meticulously transform a stone into an innovative and stunning fountain, monuments, buildings, and much more. Travellers here enjoy marble crafts and have one of its kind of a unique UNESCO Cultural Experience. 

8. Horseback Shrimp Fishing

Where: Oostduinkerke, Belgium

Image by David Edgar, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The small town of Oostduinkerke is popular for riding their Brabant horses into the surf of the North Sea to collect the shrimp. They drag the chain that creates continuous vibrations which spurs shrimp to jump in the horse net. This is one of the most fascinating and worthwhile UNESCO cultural experiences that allows one to witness the best age-old traditional shrimp fishing experience ever.

7. Toquilla Weaving

Where: Ecuador, South America

Hat weaving is an art and a conventional weaving method that is in existence for several decades. The brimmed hats from Ecuador are made of straw from the Carludovica palmata. It is a palm-like monocot plant. The practice of hand-weaving the hats are passed down from ancestors and is still prevalent in the region.

6. Tango

Where: Argentina and Uruguay

The iconic and seductive of Uruguay and Argentina is known for its amazing moves. The dance form gained great popularity and was spread by several groups in various parts of the world. Though the dance form has evolved musically and socially, however, the iconic moves and movements of the dance remain close to its origin. 

5. Royal Drum-Ritual Dance

Where: Burundi, East Africa

Image by Andreas31, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The drummers of Burundi are famous for their amazing talent and enthralling ritual dance. The ritual dance combines poetry, synchronized movements, songs, and powerful beats. This ritual dance is usually performed on special days, feasts, and for VIP guests.

4. The unique culture of Jeju Haenyeo

Where: Jeju Island, South Korea

The island located on the southern coast of South Korea has a group of women divers which are locally known as Haenyeo. These women dive without carrying any diving equipment along with them. Their unique style of diving and years of practice allows them to stay underwater for more than two minutes and go deep up to 10 meters. The average age of these women divers is around 75 years. One can learn more about the rich and unique culture of Jeju Haenyeo at the Haenyeo Museum. The region offers distinct and enchanting UNESCO Cultural experiences that are worthwhile and full of excitement.

3. Scissors Dance

Where: Peru, South America

Image by Hugo van Tilborg via Flickr

The famous UNESCO Cultural Experience of Peru is one of the stunning experiences. The scissor dance is performed by inhabitants of Quechua villages and communities in bright baggy pants, sequins, beading, fringe, and embroidery. The acrobatic movements and leaps with harp and violin set the mood of the dance. This dance has been performed since pre-Columbian times and has become a popular part of Catholic festivities. The duration of this dance is around four hours.

2. Shadow Puppetry

Where: China

Image by Nadine Incoll via Flickr

Chinese shadow puppetry is a form of theatre acted by colourful silhouette figures made from leather or paper, accompanied by music and singing. In this tradition the master carvers of the china craft intricate puppets from leather stained with pigments. The cloth is illuminated from behind and works as a stage for the puppets. The puppeteers of the troupe control the puppets and convey fascinating stories. They also pass on information such as cultural history, social beliefs, oral traditions and local customs. This act is usually performed during special events like weddings, religious functions. Holidays, birthdays, etc.

1. Royal Ballet of Cambodia

Where: Cambodia

The royal ballet of Cambodia, also known as Khmer Classical Dance, has been closely associated with the Khmer court for over one thousand years. This art form represents diffident symbols, concepts, and themes. The dance, filled with a sacred and symbolic role, embodies sophistication, respect and spirituality. 

Its repertory preserves legends about the origins of the Khmer. As a result, Cambodians have long considered this tradition to be a sign of Khmer culture. Four distinct character types exist in the classical repertory: Neang the woman, Neayrong the man, Yeak the giant, and Sva the monkey. Each possesses distinctive colours, costumes, makeup and masks.

The dancers begin their training at a tender age and get the expertise of the same eventually. Cladded in heavy embroidery, the dancers perform the wordless story with their sheer elegance, fascinating and different moves.

The key takeaway

It’s not an understatement to say that intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is an essential ingredient in healthy communities and sustainable development.

But what is intangible cultural heritage, anyway?

The easiest way to understand it is to recall what each word means on its own.

Heritage is something that is passed down through generations. Culture refers to values, traditions, and identities. And intangible means impossible to touch.

Putting those words back together, intangible cultural heritage refers to the traditions and living expressions transmitted from one generation to the next. You can think of it as “living heritage.”

These “UNESCO Cultural Experiences” or “Living Heritage” have mesmerized the world with their humongous cultural heritage and diversity. It has spread awareness about the rich cultures and contributed mainly to preserving artisanry, activities, and other practices.

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