STA, 28 November - Dry stone walling, the ancient building method used in Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, France and Spain, has been included on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
The decision was taken in Port Luis, Mauritius, on Wednesday at a session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Slovenian Culture Ministry said in a press release.
The bid had been submitted by Cyprus together with the other eight countries in March 2017.
In Slovenia, dry stone building by stacking stones found in the soil when cleaning farmland without the use of adhesive materials was typical particularly in the Kras and Istra regions in the south-west.
Such walls were built to fence gardens, meadows, vineyards, graveyards or to separate land or roads. Often dry stone walls protected people's assets from wind and fire.
The skill was passed on from generation to generation until WWII. But then traditional farming was increasingly abandoned, so this building method fell into disuse and is now known only to generations born before the war.
Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, France and Spain presented the most wide-spread traditional techniques of this type of building in their UNESCO bid and highlighted its common cultural meaning and functions in all of the countries involved.
The elements of the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity, the list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding and the registry of best practices are deemed as significant bastions of humanity's intangible heritage, the highest honour for intangible heritage in the world stage.
Other aspects of Slovenia’s cultural heritage are already on the list
The lists were established in 2008 when the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took effect. Slovenia ratified it in 2008 and set up the national registry of intangible cultural heritage the same year.
Other Slovenian entries on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage are the door-to-door rounds of Kurenti, a traditional Slovenian carnival costume, (since December 2017) and the Škofja Loka Passion, the mass staging of an early 18th-century play, which made it to the list in December 2016.
Another Slovenian bid is expected to be endorsed on Thursday after the country officially nominated in March this year bobbin lace making, a traditional lace-making technique using special wooden sticks - bobbins. The tradition is especially strong in the northwestern areas around Idrija, Cerkno and Škofja Loka.
A kurent costume in Ljubljana's Ethnographic Museum. Photo: JL Flanner