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Intangible Cultural Heritage of Greece

As early as 2002, the Greek state has adopted the term “intangible cultural goods” in order to establish the safeguarding of the cultural heritage that until then was described as “traditional and modern folk culture”.

Specifically, in the Law 3028/2002 “Protection of Antiquities and the Cultural Heritage in general” (Official Government Gazette 153 A / 28.6.2002) it is stated that: “as intangible cultural goods will be considered the expressions, practices, knowledge and information, such as myths, customs, oral traditions, dance, rituals, music, songs, skills or techniques which constitute testimonies of the traditional, folk and literary culture “(Article 2 (e)).

About a year later, on the 17th October 2003, the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted by UNESCO. The Convention goes one step further than the Greek law, giving priority to the bearers of the elements of the intangible cultural heritage (communities).

Article 2 (1) of the Convention defines intangible cultural heritage as “the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills- as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith- that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage”.

Greece ratified the Convention in 2006, and so far (September 2017) it has been ratified by 175 states.

Finally, according to Presidential Decree No 104 “Organization of the Ministry of Culture and Sports” (Official Government Gazette 171 / A / 28-6-2014), responsible for the implementation in Greece of the International Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO, 2003) is the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, in particular the Directorate of Modern Cultural Heritage, which belongs to the General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage. The same Directorate is also responsible, in accordance with the same Presidential Decree, for the plannning and implementation of actions for the safeguarding of the elements of intangible cultural heritage inscribed on the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Greece and in the Lists provided for in the relevant UNESCO Convention.

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