Endangered ‘bird language’ enters UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Published: January 4, 2018

Turkey’s endangered ‘bird language’ has entered the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is an unusual and very efficient whistle language used as a means of communication by villagers in remote northern Turkey. UNESCO has accepted the “bird language” of Black Sea villagers as an endangered part of world heritage in need of urgent protection. Around 10,000 people, mostly in the district of Canakci in Giresun province, still use the highly-developed and high pitch system of whistling to communicate in the rugged terrain where most of the times they cannot see each other. This form of communication which dates to some 500 years ago, during the Ottoman Empire, was widespread across the Black Sea regions, but 50 years ago it suffered the impact of the progression of technology and nowadays the ever rapid growing of cellular mobile systems has put this cultural heritage under serious threat.

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