Let’s visit the Borobudur Villages!

© UNESCO Jakarta

UNESCO launches Borobudur Village Cultural Mapping

Inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1991, Borobudur temples attract every year 3 million tourists. However, despite this massive flow of tourism, the local rural communities around the site have not necessarily benefited from the economic opportunities.  A UNESCO 2012 study revealed that many visitors to Borobudur knew very little about the surrounding villages. Furthermore, the average income of the villagers remained low, demonstrating the absence of linkage between village livelihood and the famous tourist attraction.   

To create a positive dynamic between the World Heritage site and the village communities, UNESCO has since 2018 mapped cultural assets of the 20 villages of the Borobudur sub-district in partnership with the Borobudur Conservation Office, local anthropologists and community workers. After several rounds of field visits and consultations with the village leaders, the mapping book is finally ready for the public.  

The book documents little-known archaeological sites, artists and intangible heritage such as traditional dances, village rituals - as well as local small industry products like chocolate, goat milk, honey, pottery, batik, coffee and other local cuisines from Borobudur villages.   Each item has a QR code to allow visitors to identify its location.  The data will serve the villages to develop their promotional strategy.  UNESCO also trains the local young guides to plan village tours with appealing stories.  The book will be ready for public distribution in January 2022 and can be viewed online through this link:

The initiative has been funded by the Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance, a Franco-Chinese NGO supporting local capacity-building in heritage protection in Asia.  

Please watch the recording of the launching event on 30 November 2021 at