20 Examples of Tangible and Intangible Heritage

Cultural heritage is the set of goods, traditions and knowledge of a certain culture or community. The patrimony can be classified according to the type of goods that it includes in:

  • Tangible heritage. It is made up of goods, sites or objects that are considered relevant to the culture, history and identity of a certain society, country or region. This type of heritage can be movable, for example: utensils used by the Mayans or real estate, for example: the Parthenon in Greece.
  • Intangible heritage. It is made up of expressions, knowledge, activities and techniques that transmit the identity and culture of a certain community or group. It is made up of intangible, intangible assets. These are traditions and customs that are usually transmitted from generation to generation through orality. For instance: dances such as merengue, festivities or cultural events such as the Oruro Carnival in Bolivia.

Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is in charge of identifying heritage that is important to cultures and nations and promotes its knowledge and preservation.

Characteristics of tangible heritage

  • It has a historical, cultural or natural relevance.
  • Includes natural heritage, industrial heritage, archaeological heritage, cultural heritage, artistic heritage and architectural heritage.
  • It can be quantified and measured, since it is made up of objects or buildings.
  • Tangible heritage – real estate are those sites or constructions that cannot be transferred from one place to another.
  • Tangible heritage – furniture includes works of art, books, documents, photographs, utensils from the daily life of ancient civilizations.
  • It provides a unique testimony of a cultural tradition or an existing or already disappeared civilization.

Characteristics of intangible heritage

  • It is passed down from generation to generation.
  • Its quantification is not possible so its valuation is measured from a symbolic point of view.
  • Encourage cultural diversity.
  • It is preserved by each community that documents and protects its heritage, both current and past.
  • It instills a feeling of identity and continuity in societies.
  • It is formed by knowledge or ways of doing, celebrations, rituals, festivities, gastronomy, clothing, artistic expressions such as dance, theater, music.

Examples of tangible heritage

Eiffel TowerFrance
Memphis and its necropolisEgypt
Alhambra PalaceSpain
Great wall of chinaChina
Archaeological sites
Pre-Hispanic city of TeotihuacánMexico
Macchu PicchuPeru
Archaeological Site of Panama ViejoPanama
The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci
Louvre Museum – Paris, France
Fridha and Diego Rivera from Frida Kahlo
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art – San Francisco, USA
Salvador Dalí’s Last Supper
National Gallery – London, United Kingdom
City of veniceItaly
Historic center of Saint PetersburgRussia
Cuzco cityPeru
Natural heritage
Pantanal conservation areaBrazil
Swiss AlpsSwitzerland
Grand canyon national parkUSA
Galapagos IslandsEcuador

Examples of intangible heritage

ClothingTaquile textile artPeru
Byzantine chantCyprus – Greece
The woodworking of the ZafimaniryMadagascar
The filletingArgentina
The traditional painted pottery of KosivUkraine
Barranquilla CarnivalColombia
Feast of the Virgin of CandelariaPeru
The YaokwaBrazil
Ritual ceremony of the VoladoresMexico
GastronomyTraditional Mexican cuisineMexico
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