Cultural Heritage

There is a great diversity of cultural heritage, from historical monuments, art objects, music, dance, ritual and oral traditions, to other local knowledge transmitted from generation to generation. This is an evolving notion, today understood as taking both tangible and intangible forms.

Tangible forms: elements being physical artefacts left by preceding cultures and civilisations.

Intangible forms: "practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills - as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith - that communities, groups and in some cases, individuals, recognize as part of their cultural heritage. [It] is constantly recreaed by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity" (art. 2 of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage).

Traditional Knowledge constitutes one form of intangible cultural heritage - the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities around the world, developed from experience gained over the centuries, adapted to the local culture and environment, and transmitted orally from generation to generation. Mainly of a practical nature, it trends to be collectively owned and takes the form of stories, songs, proverbs, beliefs, cultural values, community laws, local language, agricultural practices, etc.).

Traditional land use patterns are incorporated in the concept of cultural landscape. "Cultural landscape often reflects specific techniques of sustainable land-use, considering the characteristics and limits of the natural environment they are established in, and a specific relation to nature." (Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the WHC)

Thus, particular examples of traditional architecture and land use should be preserved, by maintaining local traditions in building practices or for the exploitation of land resources, leading to comparisons with the concept of "living museum".


Berkovitsa, Bulgaria: discovering surrounding Natural and Cultural Heritage through Intergenerational Learning

At Berkovitsa, representatives of both younger and older generations -  students, local associations, craftsmen, mountaineers were invited to the Consultations. The community decided to organize intergenerational activities linked with discovering the local natural and cultural heritage, and teaching the local seniors computer skills.

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Links with other thematic areas

Cultural heritage and traditional knowledge are preserved via Intergenerational Learning and Education for Sustainable Development, and are important components of traditional Agriculture and Tourism Development