Accessibility links

Breaking News

UNESCO's Decision On Azeri Cultural Heritage Causes Protests

An Azerbaijani Culture Ministry photo of players participating in the polo-like game "chovqan," known as "chogan" in some cultures
BAKU -- Azerbaijan has called groundless Tajikistan's challenge of UNESCO's decision last week to add an archaic form of Azerbaijani polo to its list of "intangible heritage" in need of preservation.

Vasif Eyvazzade of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism told Azerbaijan's APA news agency on December 11 that any country claiming that chovqan -- played, as he said, on short-legged Karabakh horses -- is its national game can simply refer to UNESCO, which recognized it as part of Azerbaijan's cultural heritage earlier this month.

ALSO READ: Iran Claims To Thwart Azerbaijani Cultural Imperialism At UNESCO

Tajik intellectuals sent a protest letter to UNESCO on December 9, saying that chovqan is the cultural heritage not only of Azerbaijan but also of Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Media reports in Iran last week also criticized UNESCO's decision, saying that the game is, in fact, Persian and is called chogan.

Based on reporting by and RFE/RL's Tajik Service