The Ministry of Culture, represented by the Department of Heritage and Identity, celebrates the World Heritage Day, which is celebrated by all countries of the world on the eighteenth of April. The slogan of this year is heritage and climate, in the context of the negative and harmful effects of climate change, which poses a threat to historical and cultural monuments.

Sheikha Najla Faisal Al-Thani, Director of Heritage and Identity, said on this annual occasion, which the Ministry of Culture celebrates, that the State of Qatar includes many archaeological sites that are distributed over the geographical area of the country, which receive great attention from the competent authorities to preserve and maintain the country’s heritage as well as the cultural heritage that receives attention, documentation, collection and archiving, and the registration of elements in the list of cultural and natural heritage, and the representative list of humanity in UNESCO.

Cultural heritage plays an active role in the culture of nations and peoples, through which it is possible to identify the culture of any people and the extent of influence and vulnerability to other cultures. The intangible heritage is considered the real inspiration for understanding the data and studying the actions of any people. Cultural traditions are a language that can be understood and communicated, and reduce the internally accumulated expertise and experiences. Due to the importance of this aspect, the State of Qatar has been keen to preserve its cultural heritage as a reflection of the importance of this valuable legacy in the contemporary development witnessed by the country. After the state acceded to the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage under Decree No. 21 of the year 1985, and the Convention for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage under Emiri Decree No. 52 of the year 2008 ratifying the Convention on the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage issued on October 27, 2008, and then the Heritage Department began to register the Qatari cultural heritage in the files in UNESCO since 2010, said Sheikha Najla Al-Thani.


– Falconry file: a living human heritage

“Falconry: A Living Human Heritage” element was included within the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in UNESCO in 2010 AD. The hobby of falconry (breeding and hunting with falcons) is an ancient and deeply rooted hobby in a number of Arab and non-Arab countries.

The origin of this hobby is the use of hunting with raptors as a means of hunting, but it has evolved over time to become part of the cultural heritage of peoples. Practitioners of this hobby raise raptors such as goshawk, eagles, falcons, etc., release them, and work on their reproduction. In some countries, hunting with raptors and acquiring the status of a hunter or practitioner in this type of hunting is not permitted unless after passing a national exam. The beginning of registration in ten countries was in 2010, and the last update was in 2022.

– The “Arabic coffee” file: a symbol of generosity

“Arabic coffee as a symbol of generosity” was incorporated within the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as a joint Arab file in 2015. The preparation of Arabic coffee begins with roasting coffee beans in a shallow frying pan, then grinding them using a copper mortar and pestle, and then placing them in a copper bucket on a stove. After brewing, a special bucket for serving coffee is poured into the cup so that a quarter of it is filled and served first to the eldest and most important guest. It is not poured again when the cup is shaken. This heritage is practiced by all groups and segments of society, but its bearers and those who maintain its continuity, and the owners of shops specialized in selling coffee, are keen to pass on the traditions of Arabic coffee among the younger generations in order to preserve this habit.

– The Arab Majlis file: a social and cultural space

The element “Majlis: a social and cultural space” was included on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, as a joint file in 2015. The majlis is a meeting place for members of the community to discuss their affairs and exchange news, whether news of public affairs or what pertains to those attending the majlis. It is therefore a place for social communication. The majlis is a place for performing social duties; This heritage and the knowledge that was presented in it is transmitted to all age groups, so the children learn from what is said in the majlis, and by observing the adults in the majlis, the youth and young people learn the behaviors and ethics of their society.

– The Palm Tree file: customs and rituals associated with it

The palm tree was included on the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, titled “The Date Palm: Knowledge, Skills, Traditions and Practices” in 2022, as a joint Arab file. The date palm is considered part of the history of these countries, as it is a living source for many farmers, artisans, handicraftsmen, and merchants. Palm trees grow in dry climates, where the roots of the plant penetrate deeply into the ground in search of moisture. The farmers who care for it, and the traditional artisans who use parts of the palm tree in their work; The palm tree has many tales and heritage stories associated with this tree.

– Preparing to join the joint Arab file “Arabic Calligraphy Arts” 2023

Arabic calligraphy was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in December 2021, “under the supervision of the “ALESCO” organization as the element “Arabic Calligraphy: Knowledge, Skills and Practices.” ALESCO supervised all stages of the process of preparing this file and coordinating between the participating Arab countries. Arabic calligraphy is a symbol of Arab identity and has contributed to the transmission of culture and religious texts throughout history. It is practiced by calligraphers, according to the knowledge, skills and rules acquired through apprenticeship, as well as by artists and designers in their artistic works (paintings, sculptures, wall arts, etc.).

– Preparing to join the joint Arab “Henna Arts and Traditions” file during the year 2023.

– Preparing to join a joint Arab “Sadu Craft” file during the year 2023.

– Submitting a proposal to nominate the file “Bisht – Men’s Clothing in Qatar” during the year 2024.

– Submitting a proposal to nominate the “Art of Arda” file during the year 2024.
Sheikha Najla Faisal Al-Thani, the Director of the Heritage and Identity Department at the Ministry of Culture, said that, based on the above, we conclude that despite the efforts made by the relevant international bodies, by signing many agreements and issuing decisions and recommendations with the aim of protecting and preserving cultural heritage, whether in times of peace or war, and despite the involvement of many member states in state bodies; And its ratification of many agreements, the cultural heritage is still exposed to destruction, vandalism, theft, and smuggling, especially in countries that have been occupied, or that are witnessing wars and armed conflicts such as Yemen, Syria, Libya, and Iraq, and in occupied Palestine and Afghanistan, in Yemen alone the number of sites has reached more than fifty archaeological sites of religious, cultural and historical value were destroyed due to the ongoing conflict. In Syria, archaeological sites in all parts of it were damaged and destroyed, especially the cities of Aleppo and Palmyra – which is one of the most important ancient cities in the world where ISIS elements destroyed many of the city’s archaeological monuments, such as the famous Arch of Victory, the Shamin temples, and the Roman theater. In Iraq, more than ten thousand archaeological sites have been damaged and destroyed, such as the archaeological site of Babylon, which was turned into a military base by US forces in 2003. Its libraries, museums, and temples were also looted and destroyed. This confirms that these international laws for the protection of cultural heritage remain a dead letter, and raise more than one question mark over their application.

Accusing international and regional organizations of failing to protect and preserve cultural heritage does not diminish the responsibility of states and governments in protecting their heritage in general, and cultural heritage in particular, due either to a lack of awareness of the historical, aesthetic, economic and social importance of heritage sites, or to modest interventions protection, maintenance, restoration, re-installation), and the accompanying obliteration or change in the original features of the cultural landmark, or the weakness of national legislation, and its non-application in punishing violators and prosecuting smugglers.

Therefore, in order to preserve and protect the cultural heritage, as it is the property of all mankind, the efforts of all the international community, individuals and groups, must be combined, laws and legislations should be developed, scientific research and preparation should be encouraged, and the necessary funding should be provided for its preservation and maintenance, and

The most important elements that the cultural heritage enjoys in the country are to contribute to preserving the national identity in the face of the challenges that our country is going through.

The Director of the Heritage and Identity Department touched on some proposals and recommendations that work to advance the cultural heritage in the State of Qatar, which are:

-Reviving, preserving, maintaining and introducing the intangible cultural heritage in Qatar.

– Coordinating the efforts of workers in the field of intangible cultural heritage, facilitating the exchange of their experiences, harnessing all the different media to spread this heritage, and establishing a common site that contributes to the exchange of information.

-Emphasizing the need for cultural heritage to contribute to building a cultural system so that culture becomes a weapon against the cultures that invade the State of Qatar.

-Paying attention to studies, research, documentation and preservation in the field of intangible cultural heritage, and activating cooperation, coordination and exchange of ideas and information on intangible cultural heritage among the agencies working in this aspect.

-Holding seminars and conferences aimed at motivating researchers in the field of cultural heritage.

-Working by all means and methods to establish a joint national archive among the entities working in cultural heritage, in a way that enhances the growth of comprehensive studies of the culture of the State of Qatar, with the aim of revealing this culture, its richness and diversity, to enhance the national identity.