What is Cultural Heritage?

cultural heritage

Cultural heritage is a legacy that people pass down from one generation to the next. It can include physical artifacts and intangible values and knowledge.

Cultural heritage is a valuable source of inspiration for creativity and innovation that can lead to contemporary cultural products. It also helps strengthen social capital and create a sense of belonging for communities.


A cultural heritage is a legacy transmitted from one generation to the next that combines physical tangible artefacts and ways of doing with immaterial and intangible values and knowledge. Examples include traditions, beliefs, rites and rituals, indigenous knowledge, traditional craftsmanship, language, music, sports, food, clothing, calendars, etc.

It also includes oral traditions, performing arts, local knowledge, and traditional skills that are passed on from one generation to the next within a society. It is an essential aspect of social life, providing a sense of identity and continuity and helping communities to survive through time.

Many government ministries of culture, national museums, archives and libraries, intergovernmental organizations such as UNESCO, and non-governmental heritage programs develop conservation, preservation, and revitalization programs devoted to safeguarding cultural heritage in an effort to ensure its survival, flourishing, and positive impact on society. These programs often involve a variety of professionals in fields such as engineering, history, architecture, archaeology, law enforcement, conservators, art historians, naturalists, biologists, forensic anthropologists, botanists, and museum studies.


Cultural heritage is the legacy of a group or society that is transmitted from one generation to the next. It is made up of both physical and intangible assets.

When people think of ‘heritage’, they may imagine artifacts (paintings, drawings, prints and mosaics), historical monuments or buildings and archaeological sites. However, the concept is much wider and now includes all evidence of human creativity and expression: photographs, documents, books and manuscripts; instruments and music.

Participants in the study also identified a wide range of environmental objects including towns, underwater heritage and natural landscapes as part of their heritage. This was surprising as it showed that the definition of heritage is broader than commonly understood and could include both human-made and natural objects.


Cultural heritage is an essential element of a society’s identity and is passed from one generation to the next. It includes customs, arts and structures as well as beliefs and values.

For most people, culture is an important part of their identity and gives them a feeling of connection with other members of their community. It also helps them identify with the world around them and makes them feel a sense of belonging to their country or region.

Preservation and care of heritage are crucial to the wellbeing of a society. This is especially true in times of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods or hurricanes.


Whether it’s historic buildings, cultural traditions or other assets that have been passed on from past generations, these are all considered part of a culture’s heritage. This is a process that society constantly engages in, making decisions about what is valuable and worthy of preservation for future generations.

UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage defines intangible heritage as non-material intellectual richness including folklore, customs, beliefs, traditions and knowledge. This includes traditional craftsmanship, performing arts, representations, oral traditions and other forms of expression.

These elements are not only important for the communities that practice them, but also for the world at large. For example, tango music and dance from Argentina and Uruguay, mate, the traditional kimchi-making tradition in Korea, Viennese coffee house culture, Chinese shadow puppetry, Vedic chanting, the polyphonic singing of the Aka of Central Africa, are all examples of intangible heritage.

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