Intangible Heritage

Syria enjoys rich cultural expressions reflected by the multi-ethnic and multi-confessional nature of its society. The conflict in Syria has had a significant impact on the bearers and practitioners of intangible cultural heritage expressions and on the viability and transmission of practices and know-how of living heritage, essential to maintaining cultural diversity, social cohesion and dialogue between communities.

All aspects of Syria's rich intangible cultural heritage have been affected by the conflict, deeply weakening the very foundations of Syrian society.

Information on the current situation of intangible cultural heritage in Syria

  • The social fragmentation, displacement and migration resulting from the conflict have deeply affected cultural practices expressions and spaces, and dispersed knowledge and skills.
  • The disappearance of many knowledge holders is resulting in the disappearance of some oral traditions and know-how as well as a break in transmission, thus depriving present and future generations an essential part of their culture.
  • In the old town of Aleppo, artisans have seen a considerable number of their workshops, tools and materials destroyed and burnt. Activities related to the transmission of these skills have been suspended.
  • In the old city of Damascus, although the urban fabric has been relatively spared, the traditional garment production has been severely affected.
  • Other crafts existing in the areas around Damascus have ceased and the Qishani (traditional ceramics) factory has closed. The displacement of glass artisans also caused a breach to the existing practices in the glass factory in Al Takiyeh al-Sulaymaniyah in Damascus. 
  • Following the violence and the spread of the conflict into places of worship, religious practices have ceased.