UNESCO Convention


The basis to define a term ‘intangible heritage’ is the UNESCO convention which was accepted on the 32nd session of the UNESCO General Conference in 2003 and was ratified by the President of the Republic of Poland in 2011. 

Intangible heritage in the sense of the UNESCO Convention consists of:

  • traditions and verbal messages, including language as a carrier of the immaterial cultural heritage,
  • spectacular arts,
  • holiday customs, rituals and ceremonies,
  • knowledge and practices connected to nature and universe,
  • skills connected to traditional craftsmanship.

Apart from the phenomena listed in the UNESCO convention, the following are also included in intangible heritage:

  • places connected to the events important in local, regional and national scale, such as battles, congresses, monarch’s visits,
  • places connected to outstanding historical figures,
  • historical names – traditional local names of: cities, villages, districts, streets, squares, cemeteries, parks, gardens, bridges, factories etc.,
  • works of music, literature, philosophy etc. created in a specific town  by a creator who lived or stayed there for some time, if it is sufficiently proved in sources,
  • beliefs and places connected to a cult of saints and revelations,
  • festivals and ceremonies of secular character which happen annually and have significance for the cultural identity of local society,
  • semiotic elements – signs which are symbols of specific towns, 

According to this, intangible heritage is considered part of own heritage by specific a community, group or individual.