08.03.2012 - UNESCO Office in Venice

MDG Fund joint programme in Turkey makes a story in UNESCO 2011 Annual Report

© Klaus-Peter Simon - A musician playing the Anatolian saz at a training workshop for the safeguarding of the Minstrel or Âşıklık tradition

The UNESCO 2011 Annual Report, just published, includes a story under chapter 4 : “Culture and heritage : our past, our future” on pages 52 and 53 dedicated to the MDG Fund joint programme Alliances for Cultural Tourism in Eastern Anatolia, implemented by UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, and UNWTO. UNESCO coordinated a series of activities to improve heritage safeguarding and integrate cultural resources into tourism development policies in the Kars province of Eastern Anatolia, Turkey’s least developed region.

In particular, a management plan was elaborated with local stakeholders for the ancient site of Ani, situated along the legendary Silk Road. Specialists created an automated digital data system for the conservation, monitoring and supervision of cultural and natural sites in Kars and local authorities were trained on various aspects of heritage safeguarding.

Regarding living heritage, the joint programme supported the national inventorying efforts and undertook the mapping of the performing arts, festive events and other traditions in 80 villages within the province. Approximately 7,000 pages of data transcriptions, 2,000 photographs, and 260 video recordings were collected. Training courses, festivals and various public events took place and publications and CDs were produced to ensure a sustainable future for these traditions, many of which were threatened.

Special emphasis was placed on promoting Turkey’s Âşıklık tradition, an ancient minstrel practice inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. Among other activities, a Culture House was established in a refurbished historic building to serve as a permanent meeting place for minstrels. 

The experiences and good practices collected in the course of the three-year project will encourage similar activities in other areas of Turkey and beyond its borders.  

The online version of UNESCO 2011 Annual Report can be consulted at: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002155/215520e.pdf

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