Google Arts & Culture, the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Museum of Arts and Crafts and the Museum of the Sinjska Alka have launched an online project to showcase the rich “intangible cultural heritage” of Croatia.
Intangible cultural heritage refers to traditions or living expressions passed on from generation to generation, such as crafts, folk singing and dancing, celebrations and festivities, and food, as showcased in this collaboration.
Croatia is one of the countries with the largest number of intangible cultural heritage items on the UNESCO list – these include musical instruments like the sopila, a small wooden horn similar to an oboe; festivals such as Rijeka Carnival, one of Europe’s largest that takes place during Lent, and crafts including lace making and wooden toy carving.
The project, available at artsandculture.google.com/project/croatia-intangible-heritage, takes an in-depth look into customs such as Agave lacemaking, originating from the Canary islands, which today is made in Croatia solely by the Benedictine nuns on the island of Hvar.
Visitors can explore Korčula Island, home of the Moreška sword dance, or learn about the knights’ tournament Sinjska Alka – held every August on the anniversary of the victory over the Turkish invaders in 1715, when 700 Croatian soldiers from Sinj managed to repel the onslaught of 60,000 Turkish soldiers.
“Cultural and historical heritage that we are all very proud of”
CNTB Director Kristjan Staničić commented: “This is the first large and comprehensive project of the Croatian National Tourist Board and Google, which promotes Croatian intangible heritage in an innovative way.
“As part of this project, we have revealed 25 Croatian intangible traditions to the global audience that will, I am sure, contribute to further positioning of our country as a tourist destination with a rich and diverse offer, with emphasis on the cultural and historical heritage that we are all very proud of”.
Staničić added that cultural tourism is one of the most important motives for the arrival of tourists in pre- and post-season.
“This project is aimed at preserving and promoting selected aspects of Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage to a global audience.”
Amit Sood, director of Google Arts and Culture, added: “2020 was a challenging year for travellers around the world. We believe that with this project we will further bring the rich tradition of Croatia, which is already known for its natural beauty and picturesque cities, closer to those wanting to learn more.
“Using innovative storytelling techniques, this project in cooperation and under the auspices of the Croatian National Tourist Board is aimed at preserving and promoting selected aspects of Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage to a global audience. This is also the first global presentation of Croatian intangible heritage at Google Arts & Culture.”
Using the Street View feature, visitors to the website can move around many Croatian destination virtually. They can take a tour of the Adriatic coastline and its pristine waters, or go to Omiš, where the Festival of the Dalmatian Klapas takes place, or visit the island of Lastovo with its 16th-century Venetian architecture.
More than 2,000 cultural institutions from 80 countries are participating in the Google Arts & Culture project; for more information, see artsandculture.google.com.