The process to register Commandaria – a sweet Cypriot wine produced from some of the oldest grape varieties in the world – in the International List of Intangible Cultural Heritage is ongoing, Loukia Loizou Hadjigavriel, President of the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO, has told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA). Cyprus has already registered elements such as the embroidery from Lefkara village, the ‘tsiattista’ traditional verses, Mediterranean diet, and other elements such as chanting and midwifery. At the same time, five new proposals have been submitted for registration in the National Catalogue. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO, Hadjigavriel was invited by CNA to speak about the milestones in the Commission’s journey. The first step, she said, was the appointment of the first representative of the Republic of Cyprus to UNESCO in 1962, as well as the establishment of the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO, which aims to implement and monitor what is happening in Cyprus regarding the conventions voted by the states members and implemented by UNESCO. Another major milestone, Hadjigavriel continued, was the signing of the Convention on the Looting of Antiquities, which especially after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 helps with the issue of stolen antiquities found abroad. The President of the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO told CNA that another important milestone was the signing of the Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006, through which Cyprus was able to register several elements in the International List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Such elements are the embroidery from Lefkara village (2009), the ‘tsiattista’ traditional verses (2011), Mediterranean diet (2013), “xerolithia” or dry-stone wall (2018), chanting (2019), while the last element registered by Cyprus is midwifery. “Now there is a process to register Commandaria wine in that list,” Hadjigavriel told CNA. Asked about the next plans of the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO, its President told CNA that in order for an element to be submitted for registration on the International List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, a thorough investigation must be done on its historical course and its evolution over time. “There are several nominations for registration,” she added. At the same time, the other major work that is being done with the help of experts is the preparation of the National Catalogue of Intangible Cultural Heritage, said Loukia Loizou Hadjigavriel, clarifying that the elements included in the National Catalogue characterise the popular Cypriot culture and do not necessarily belong to the international list, since similar elements are found in other countries. Such elements, she explained, are the pottery from the areas of Lapithos and Agios Demetrios Marathasa. Asked about the five new proposals submitted for registration in the National Catalogue, Hadjigavriel explained that the scientific aspect of the item being listed has been completed. Proposals include the Geroskipou delights, Kythrea cabbage and the traditional recipes that are made of it, a number of traditional events as well as the Saint Irene traditional fair in Farmakas village, in Nicosia district. “If an element of the National List is not presented anywhere else in the world, an application can be submitted for inclusion in the International List,” said the President of the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO. “There is a priority order in the International List, to the point that even if Cyprus submits an application, it is impossible to be considered in the next three years, due to the large number of nominations from many countries”, she underlined. Another area in which the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO is active are the seven UNESCO chairs in Cypriot universities, said Hadjigavriel, adding that the twinning of chairs with UNESCO chairs from abroad is underway. “We are one of the leading countries in terms of population and universities in this field, because the chairs can branch out and develop programs together with other chairs abroad,” she pointed out.
Source: Cyprus News Agency