7 MENA art forms on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list 2021


By the end of 2021, UNESCO has added a number of traditional art forms and rituals to its list of intangible cultural heritage, showcasing them to the international public and underlining their importance to communities. local. Of the new art forms added, seven are from the Middle East and North Africa.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced its 2021 List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which includes 7 art forms that are very popular in our region.

List of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage 2021 of the MENA region

1. arabic calligraphy: knowledge, skills and practices

Shutterstock: Arabic Logos

UNESCO recognized the art of writing Arabic script using different historical fonts and techniques as intangible cultural heritage for Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan , Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

2. Al-Qudoud al-Halabiya

The style of music unique to the ancient city of Aleppo in Syria has also been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. This music is quite popular throughout the Arabic-speaking world but it is mainly interpreted by artists from Aleppo.

In November 2021, Syria mourned the most iconic artist to have played Al-Qudoud al-Halabiya, Sabah fakhri, who died in his home country after 88 years of singing the traditional songs of his town.

3. Falconry, a living human heritage

List of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage 2021 of the MENA region
Shutterstock: H1N1

Even though it has spread to more than MENA countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Syria, the traditional art and practice of training and flight of hawks and other birds have also been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List for 2021.

4. Fdjiroise music

Bahrain and its neighbors are quite famous for their pearls. Diving to hunt these precious glittering objects often found in shelled mollusks is a traditional practice that the people of Bahrain are proud of.

That is why UNESCO has decided to add the Fijri or Fijeri musical tradition often associated with these fishing trips to its 2021 list of intangible cultural heritage.

5. Tbourida

From Morocco this time, UNESCO has chosen the equestrian show called Tbourida, which dates back to the 16th century. Mixing the ancestral Amazigh and Arab rituals of Morocco, the dance celebrates parades and military successes.

6. Palestinian embroidery

The art of embroidery in Palestine, its practices, skills, knowledge and rituals have also been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List for 2021.

The art celebrates the village clothing of Palestinian women where the clothing is embroidered with a variety of symbols including birds, trees and flowers, each indicating the regional identity of the woman as well as her marital and economic status.

7. Iraqi crafts from Al Naoor

Here is the latest craftsmanship from the MENA region chosen by UNESCO for its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage for 2021.

Al-Naoor is a wooden wheel that spins on its axis and is historically placed in areas where the running waters of the Euphrates are low, so it helps farmers get the water they need for their land.


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