Georgian national wrestling recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • Chidaoba has a rich heritage in Georgia both as historical martial art and more recently as sport. Photo: Georgian National Wrestling Federation., 29 Nov 2018 - 16:37, Tbilisi,Georgia

The art of traditional Georgian wrestling, a major element of the country’s national identity and history, has been inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list by a decision of the international body’s committee in Port Louis, Mauritius.

The phenomenon, known in Georgian as chidaoba, was added to the list at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on Wednesday.

See a Georgian National Wrestling Federation video profile on chidaoba below:

The practice is a complex phenomenon that combines elements of wrestling, music, dance and special garments (‘chokha’)”

[Chidaoba] tournaments take place in an open-air arena, surrounded by a large audience [...] wrestlers attempt to defeat each other through special holds, and vibrant music enhances the dynamics of the contest”, a release by UNESCO said about the national wrestling type.

The organisation’s profile for the heritage element also noted the 200 holds and counter-holds used by wrestlers in the national sport as a testament to their creativity.

Chidaoba received a national status of intangible cultural heritage in Georgia in 2014, prior to its nomination for the UNESCO list.

The national wrestling now joins Georgian polyphonic singing (added in 2008), ancient Georgian traditional qvevri wine-making method (2013) and living culture of three writing systems of the Georgian alphabet (2016) in the international roster of intangible heritage.

The committee for selecting newest additions to the Intangible Cultural Heritage list involved 24 state members of the committee.

They convened in Port Louis for what is the organisation’s 13th session, running between November 26-December 1.