Intangible Cultural Heritage along the Silk Roads


The term ‘cultural heritage’ has changed content considerably in recent decades, partially owing to the instruments developed by UNESCO. Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as 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.

While fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.

The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next.

Learn more about the five categories defined by Article II of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage here.

The Silk Roads online platform presents the Intangible Cultural Heritage from along the historic Silk Roads that has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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