The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
Bulgaria has ratified the Convention on Thursday, March 7, 1974.
Bulgaria has seven cultural and two natural sites inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Boyana Church (1979)
Madara Rider (1979)
Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo (1979)
Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak (1979)
Ancient City of Nessebar (1983)
Rila Monastery (1983)
Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari (1985)
Pirin National Park (1983)
Srebarna Nature Reserve (1983)
More info: http://unesco-objects.hit.bg/index.html
In the field of intangible heritage, The Bistritsa Babi – archaic polyphony, dances and rituals from the Shoplouk Region, and the Nestinarstvo - the Panagyr of Saints Constantine and Helena in the village of Bulgari were proclaimed masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The Bistritsa Babi – Archaic Polyphony, Dances and Rituals from the Shoplouk Region
Inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005)
The polyphony is an archaic type of singing with distinctive melodies that has lived through the centuries. The picturesque village of Bistritsa has preserved these unique practices and traditions until nowadays.
The traditional dances and polyphonic singing found in the Shoplouk region of Bulgaria are still performed by a group of elderly women, the Bistritsa Babi. This tradition includes diaphony, or what is known as shoppe polyphony, ancient forms of the horo chain dance and the ritual practice of lazarouvane, an initiation ceremony for young women.
Although the social function of the polyphonic singing has changed over the twentieth century, as it is now primarily performed on stage, the Bistritsa Babi are regarded as an important component of the region’s cultural life, promoting traditional expressions among the younger generations. The women are among the few remaining representatives of traditional polyphony and the village of Bistritsa is one of the last areas in Bulgaria in which this cultural expression has been maintained over the centuries.
Nestinarstvo, messages from the past: the Panagyr of Saints Constantine and Helena in the village of Bulgari
Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
The Nestinarstvo fire-dancing rite is the climax of the annual Panagyr ritual on the feast days of Saints Constantine and Helena (3 and 4 June) in the village of Bulgari, in the Mount Strandzha region of south-east Bulgaria. The ritual is held to ensure the well-being and fertility of the village. In the morning, consecrated and ceremonial rituals are solemnized and a procession with the sacred icons representing the two Saints travels outside the village to a spring with holy water, accompanied by drum and bagpipes. At the spring, holy water and candles are handed out to everyone present for good health. The festival culminates in a fire-dance in the evening as the highest form of veneration of the Saints. People silently form a circle around the burning embers led by the sacred drum, and the Nestinari, who are spiritual and physical leaders through whom the saints express their will, begin entering the circle and treading the embers. Formerly celebrated in some thirty nearby Bulgarian and Greek villages, Nestinarstvo remains today in Bulgari, a village of only a hundred persons. During the Panagyr, however, thousands crowd the village, including in recent years many Greeks who join the ritual.