As Novac/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 17th of September, 2020, the tourist champion of the Mediterranean has a new ace up its sleeve to attract tourists, but also to promote its very own culture. As of today, Croatian Intangible Heritage is available on Google on the pages “Croatia: Hearts & Crafts” in both Croatian and English.
Croatia is one of the countries with the largest number of intangible cultural heritage sites in the whole world. Croatian intangible heritage is under the protection of UNESCO, and is now available on the Internet through the cooperation of Google Arts & Culture and the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB/HTZ).
The Museum of Arts and Crafts and the Museum of the Sinj Alka participated in the project, thus becoming just some of more than 2,000 cultural institutions from 80 countries participating in the Google Arts & Culture project.
Kristjan Stanicic, the director of the CNTB, says that this is the first large and comprehensive project of the Croatian National Tourist Board and Google which promotes Croatian intangible heritage in an innovative way.
“As part of this project, we’ve revealed 25 Croatian intangible traditions to the world that will, I’m sure, contribute to further positioning our country as a tourist destination with a rich and diverse offer with emphasis placed on our cultural and historical heritage, which we’re all very proud of,” said Stanicic.
Intangible cultural heritage that refers to traditions or living expressions that are passed from one generation to another are being presented through this joint project in four sections, ie through the knowledge of crafts, folk songs and dances, and then festivities and food.
Amit Sood, director of Google Arts and Culture, says 2020 has been a challenging year for travellers around the world. He is convinced that this project to showcase Croatian intangible heritage through cooperation with Google will bring even more people closer the rich traditions and history of Croatia, which is already known for its natural beauty and picturesque cities.
“Using technology and innovative storytelling techniques, this project in cooperation and under the auspices of the Croatian National Tourist Board is aimed at preserving and promoting selected aspects of Croatian intangible heritage to a global audience. This is also the first global presentation of Croatian intangible heritage on Google Arts & Culture,” stated Sood.
Some of the examples included in the project are the making of Agave lace, which according to tradition originates from the Canary Islands, and which today in Croatia is made only by nuns from the Benedictine monastery in Hvar Town on the island of the same name. The incredible Sinjska Alka, held every year in August on the anniversary of victory over Turkish invaders in 1715, when 700 Croatian soldiers from Sinj managed to repel the onslaught of 60,000 Turkish soldiers, as well as the traditional Tribunj donkey race, which is held every year on the first day of August.
The project also includes Nijemo kolo from the Dalmatian hinterland, which is unique in that it is performed in a circle or in pairs almost exclusively without any musical accompaniment, klapa singing, traditional polyphonic homophonic singing without the accompaniment of instruments dedicated to love or to the community in which the singers live, the art of preparing strukli, from Zagorje a salty or sweet dish made of dough stuffed with cheese, the most famous specialty of Hrvatsko Zagorje, and the folk singng, becarac, is also described, and much more.
It’s also worth mentioning that by using the Google Street View feature, people around the world can virtually navigate through many places, and with just one click they can find out additional information about Croatian treasures or immerse themselves in high-resolution photos. They can visit the glittering coastline and dive into the crystal clear Adriatic sea, explore Korcula, the home of the Moreska sword dance, or travel to Omis, where the Festival of Dalmatian Klapa takes place. They’re free to stop by the island of Lastovo, known for its natural beauty, Venetian architecture from the 16th century and a traditional events, and much more.