The Art of Portuguese calçada en-route for UNESCO ‘intangible heritage’ status

The art of Portuguese calçada – the unique paving stones that decorate many historic centres – has won its first hurdle towards attaining UNESCO intangible heritage status.

It has been “recognised” for inclusion on the national inventory for intangible cultural heritage, which is a requirement for any bid to UNESCO.

Explain reports, the achievement “constitutes the recognition of the importance of professionals who construct and maintain the ground we walk on, which is so much more than a pavement. It is a factor of identity, affection and national historical artistic and cultural differentiation. An art that carries the artistic sensibility of a people who themselves contributed a great deal in marking the footprint of the Portuguese in the world”.

The art, and its materials, are ‘environmentally sustainable’ – another reason for protecting, valuing and promoting it.

But as Sol online has added, there is also the “emergency of safeguarding this knowledge” which runs the risk of ‘disappearing’.

Next time you see a Portuguese calçada being laid, look at the ages of the people doing the work. They are rarely young.

Thus the other ‘next step’ ahead: the creation of ‘the necessary conditions to promote the art of Portuguese calceteiros’ – meaning measures will need to be taken to ensure new people can be trained-up to continue the tradition of the Portuguese ‘calceteiro’.

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