Apr 07, 2005

Tatarstan: UNESCO to visit Kazan

Independent experts are to formulate universal criteria for cultural and natural heritage under the World Heritage Convention
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KAZAN, April 6, (RIA Novosti) - The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is to hold a special meeting from April 6 to 10 in Kazan, the capital of the Volga federal Republic of Tatarstan.

Representatives of 37 countries, not counting UNESCO experts, will attend it.

Independent experts are to formulate universal criteria for cultural and natural heritage under the World Heritage Convention. Chulpan Khabibullina, an expert from Russia, will for the first time take part in the committee's work.

Oral traditions of expression, including languages, which are carriers of non-material cultural heritage, theatrical art, social traditions, rituals and holiday festivals, as well as knowledge and traditions concerning Nature and the Universe and traditional craftsmanship are all protected by an international legal instrument (convention) whose purpose is to safeguard mankind's non-material heritage through cooperation between states. This legal act is a supplement to other conventions concerning cultural heritage in its material forms. Currently the list contains more than 700 objects, including 11 in Russia. Since 1996, the Kazan Kremlin has been included in the list of mankind's material heritage.

In the course of the session, experts plan to consider changing the quota. In particular, they will examine a proposal to include in the register not fewer than 45 objects a year. The quota problem was raised at the 28th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which met in 2004 in the Chinese city of Suzhou. At that time it approved a drafted change, under which starting from 2006 each country which has signed the UNESCO convention on the protection of cultural and natural heritage can annually submit to UNESCO an application to include two places of interest on the list of world heritage objects.

As part of the session, the participants intend to visit the Bulgar historical and architectural complex, which is on a long list of UNESCO world cultural heritage.

Volzhsko-Kamskaya Bolgariya (or Bulgariya from the name of its capital Bulgar) was a feudal state of Volga-Kama Bolgars, Finno-Ugric people, that existed in the 10th-14th centuries in the middle reaches of the Volga and the Kama area.

Source: Ria Novosti