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Georgian Wrestling inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

By Mariam Chanishvili
Tuesday, December 4
Georgian National Wrestling was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The decision was made at the 13th annual meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The meeting was attended by the Georgian delegation, including Director of the National Agency for Cultural Preservation of Georgia NikolozAntidze, Chief Coordinator of the International Relations Unit of the same agency MananaVardzelashvili, Secretary-General of the Georgian National Commission for UNESCO KetevanKandelaki and President of the National Wrestling Federation of Georgia Gela Beruashvili.

Chidaoba (wrestling) is an ancient form of martial art practiced by a large proportion of the male population throughout all the regions, villages and communities of Georgia.

Bearers of the tradition include young people, city residents, sports clubs, educational institutions, and amateur organizations. The practice is a complex phenomenon that combines elements of wrestling, music, and dance.

Wrestlers attempt to defeat each other through special holds, and vibrant music enhances the dynamics of the contest.

The practice encourages a healthy lifestyle and plays an important role in the intercultural dialogue.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established the Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage with the aim of ensuring better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance.

Representative List seeks to enhance visibility for the traditions and know-how of communities without recognizing standards of excellence or exclusivity.

The newly inscribed elements also include:
- Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey—Heritage of DedeQorqud/Korkyt Ata/DedeKorkut, epic culture, folk tales, and music.
- Belarus—Celebration in honor of the Budslau icon of Our Lady (Budslau fest).
- Japan - Raiho-shin, ritual visits of deities in masks and costumes.
- Kazakhstan - Traditional spring festive rites of the Kazakh horse breeders.
- Others.