17.01.2012 - UNESCO Venice Office/MDG Turkey

Mapping the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Kars Province

© Sara Yeomans - Ruined bridge in Ani

Within the framework of the United Nations Joint Programme on "Alliances for Culture Tourism in Eastern Anatolia", the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MoCT) and the Kafkas University collaborated in order to map the intangible cultural heritage of the province of Kars, located in the northeastern part of Turkey. Following a training conducted by the MoCT experts, students from the Kafkas University visited 72 villages of Kars's province for the field research. As a resut of face-to-face interviews, 14,911 minute-long voice recording, 7,054 page-long decoding, 2,706 photographs and 259 video recordings were collected.

The “intangible cultural heritage” means the 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. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated 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, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. (Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage 2003)

Home to various cultures and civilizations throughout history, Kars is very rich in intangible cultural heritage; but little has been done so far to investigate and enhance this heritage, also in relation to the development of sustainable cultural tourism. In line with this need and within the scope of the UN Joint Programme, the activity carried out focused on preparing and publishing a research to map the main intangible cultural heritage assets in the province of Kars. The research was conducted by the Kafkas University in Kars, Eastern Anatolia, under the supervision and co-ordination of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Thousands of pages of data transcriptions and photographs and hundreds of video recordings were collected. Selected data were presented in a publication and the research was submitted to the MoCT Folklore Documentation and Information Centre for archiving and further processing. As part of the activity, 50 university students were trained on field research and intangible cultural heritage studies.

Dowload : Report on the results (Turkish)


This activity has been realised within the scope of the UN Joint Programme “Alliances for Culture Tourism in Eastern Anatolia”, generously financed by the Government of Spain and aimed at safeguarding cultural heritage and promoting cultural tourism in the province of Kars.

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