The art of building dry stone walls, traditional in rural areas of Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland, was inscribed today by Unesco in its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Unesco considered that “dry stone walls play an essential role in the prevention of landslides, floods and avalanches.” A candidacy that by Spain includes nine autonomous communities in which this art is present: Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia and Valencia.
The Convention of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) announced the decision at its meeting in Port Luis (Republic of Mauritius), where it examines this week several nominations for that list.
These types of walls are made by stacking stones without using other construction materials except dry land, and they are widespread, especially in rural areas of these European countries, as extracted from the statement issued by Unesco. These structures do not harm the environment and are “an example of a balanced relationship between human beings and nature,” according to Unesco. In addition to serving in the prevention of natural disasters, they also contribute to combating erosion and desertification, improving biodiversity and creating microclimatic conditions conducive to agriculture.
This was one of the candidacies of Spain that Unesco evaluated, along with the tamboradas, drum rituals of various localities (Teruel, Albacete and Córdoba, among others). Also announced today was the inclusion of the Parrandas of the central region of Cuba, a popular carnival festival that originated in the 18th century.
Unesco evaluates other Latin American proposals such as ritual and festive expressions of the Congolese culture of Panama, the pilgrimage of Zapopan (central Mexico), the third most important pilgrimage in the country and the shaman, a style of music and dance typical of the province from Corrientes (Argentina).
The representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity currently brings together 399 traditions and knowledge protected by the UN agency and 52 more elements whose survival is considered threatened, to which the applications evaluated this week in Mauritius are added.
On Tuesday, the UN entity also announced that the traditional Korean struggle “ssirum / ssireum” will be included, a joint proposal by the two Koreas that constituted an unprecedented initiative and with which it intends to contribute to reconciliation.
Unesco also evaluated today the nominations for the Intangible Cultural Heritage List that requires urgent safeguard measures and included seven elements, among which are the shadow theater of Syria or three male rites of passage of the Masái community in Kenya (Ekinpaata , Eunoto and Olng’esherr).