Arab world’s iconic date palm culture recognized by UNESCO heritage list

Date palms have existed since 4,000 BC and have been the symbol of hospitality and prosperity in countries across the Arab world.

The Arab region’s iconic date palm trees were officially recognized on Wednesday by UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, stepFEED reported.

The announcement came during the annual meeting of the Intangible Heritage Committee held in Bogotá, Colombia.

“The date palm, knowledge, skills, traditions and practices have played a pivotal role in strengthening the connection between people and the land in the Arab region, helping them face the challenges of the harsh desert environment,” the United Nations agency said in a statement. 

The move marks a fitting tribute to trees that ensured the livelihood of entire populations in some of the world’s hottest areas.

Additions to UNESCO’s list this year included Armenian letter art, Ethiopian epiphany, Byzantine chant, and Alpinism among several others. 

This listing comes after date palms were nominated for consideration by 14 countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

The palm is a symbol of hospitality and prosperity in countries across the Arab world. The tree’s roots are known to penetrate deep into the soil, allowing it to grow in difficult climates. It’s considered the most ancient cultivated tree according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. 

The first date palm trees have existed since 4,000 BC and are said to have originated near Ur in southern Iraq, the ancient region of Mesopotamia. 


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