Bulgarian Treasures Race for UNESCO World Heritage List

Culture | February 25, 2012, Saturday // 10:49|  views

The traditional Bulgarian martenitsa. File photo

Bulgaria's unique and traditional Kukeri and martenitsa are entering the race to be included in the list of protected cultural heritage of the UN Cultural Organization UNESCO.

Other "contestants" include the Belogradchik rocks, the Magura cave, the churches in Arbanassi, the St.St. Petar and Pavel church in the old capital Veliko Tarnovo, Perperikon and Tatul, the Golyama Kosmatka (Large Kosmatka), Starosel.

Martenitsa is a small piece of adornment, made of white and red yarn, which Bulgarians put on on March 1 - Baba Marta, the day marking the beginning of spring, according to the folklore, and wear it until around the end of the month.

The Kukeri ritual is performed between Christmas and Lent by costumed men with scary animal masks, who walk around and dance to scare away the evil spirits, as well as to provide a good harvest, health, fertility, and happiness.

The final list of Bulgaria's nominations for 2012 will be decided on through a national online vote organized by the Bulgarian "Standard" daily in the frame of the large-scale campaign "The Miracles of Bulgaria 2," to be launched in March.

The goal of the initiative is to help the State in protecting at least two more Bulgarian treasures by including them in UNESCO's World Heritage List of properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.

The initiative was presented to UNESCO's Director General, Bulgarian, Irina Bokova, by the "Standard's" Editor-in-Chief, Slavka Bozukova. Bokova was in Sofia at the beginning of the week to officially launch the new Intangible Cultural Heritage Center in southeastern Europe based in Bulgaria's capital.

A public council of historians, archeologists, NGO representatives, and experts from the Ministries of Culture, Finance and Economy will present the first nominations in March.

The council will work in partnership with the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to assist Bulgarian institutions in the preparation of applications, while in the fall "Standard" will organize a splendid show under the motto "The Miracles of Bulgaria."

Eleven Bulgarian miracles – 9 material and two intangible – are already included in UNESCO's World Heritage List.

The material ones are: the Boyana church, the Ivanovo rock churches, the Kazanlak tomb, the Madara rider, the old town Nessebar, the Rila monastery, the Sveshtari tomb, the national natural park Pirin and the natural preserve "Srebarna."

The intangible include the choir of the Bistritsa Babi (Bistritsa Grand Mothers) and the Nestinari dancers.

Meanwhile, Standard reports that local mayors have begun entering the race only one day after the announcement of the campaign.

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Tags: sofia, UNESCO, Director-General, Bulgarian, Bulgaria, Irina Bokova, Intangible Cultural Heritage Centre, World Heritage List, UNESCO, Starosel, the Golyama Kosmatka, old capital Veliko Tarnovo, St.St. Petar and Pavel church, Arbanassi, churches, Magura Cave, Belogradchik Rocks, Tatul, Perperikon, standard, Miracles of Bulgaria, UNESCO, Pernik, kukeri, spring, martenitsa, Baba Marta


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