Azerbaijan with its ancient and rich culture brings a significant contribution to the world cultural treasure chest.

The list of Azerbaijan UNESCO intangible cultural masterpieces includes 6 items:

  1. Azerbaijani mugham is a genre of Azerbaijani traditional music – complex vocal-instrumental compositions.
  2. Azerbaijani art of ashugs – set of poetry, art of storytelling, dances and vocal instrumental music. In Turkic languages “Ashug” means “person in love”. This art includes epics, heroic songs, satirical and humorous chants, songs about friendship and love. The musical instrument used for ashug is saz (a traditional stringed instrument).
  3. For Turkic and Iranian speaking nations, Novruz is a celebration of the New Year based upon the astronomical solar calendar. This holiday dates back to the pre-recorded history. Novruz in Azerbaijan consists of a range of traditional events, starting with a preparation of special holiday sweets up to games, songs and ceremonies.
  4. Traditional Art of Azerbaijani Carpet Weaving. Carpet weaving is a traditional, ancient decorative/applied Azerbaijan art which has been preserved until today. Various kinds of pileless and pile carpets are considered to be masterpieces of the world culture and decorate the largest museums and galleries all over the world.
  5. The Mastery of the Manufacture and Playing the Tar. The Azerbaijani tar is thrumming stringed musical instrument with a long neck which differs from other musical instruments of other Orient nations by its structure and sound. The art of playing the tar, just as the art of its manufacture, has been developed all over the country. The tradition of playing the tar plays an important role in the creation of the Azerbaijan cultural identity. Tar is a key instrument in orchestras and ensembles of Azerbaijani folk instruments and it is considered to be the musical symbol of Azerbaijan.
  6. Chovgan, a Traditional Sporting Team Game with Karabakh Horses. Chovgan is an ancient equestrian sports command game, an ancestor of the modern polo game. Chovgan, as an aristocratic game, was spread in a number of countries throughout the Orient. However, in Azerbaijan, chovgan was considered to be the national sport for which specially trained Karabakh horses were used.

Photograph 1. Mugham choir. Second from the left: Seid Shushinski, a significant mugham performer from the early 20th century. Photograph from the early 20th century.