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Art of making lavash put on Unesco World Intangible Heritage list

Art of making lavash put on Unesco World Intangible Heritage list

November 26
The art of making lavash, the Armenian flatbread popular throughout the region, was included in Unesco’s World Intangible Heritage list. The application submitted back in 2013 was approved, having passed all check-up staged and confirmed as complying with required standards. The resolution was taken at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO in Paris. Lavash is a traditional thin bread that forms an integral part of Armenian cuisine. Its preparation is typically undertaken by a small group of women, and requires great effort, coordination, experience and special skills. A simple dough made of wheat flour and water is kneaded and formed into balls, which are then rolled into thin layers and stretched over a special oval cushion that is then slapped against the wall of a traditional conical clay oven. After thirty seconds to a minute, the baked bread is pulled from the oven wall. Lavash is commonly served rolled around local cheeses, greens or meats, and can be preserved for up to six months. It plays a ritual role in weddings, where it is placed on the shoulders of newlyweds to bring fertility and prosperity. The group work in baking lavash strengthens family, community and social ties. Young girls usually act as aides in the process, gradually becoming more involved as they gain experience. Men are also involved through the practices of making cushions and building ovens, and pass on their skills to students and apprentices as a necessary step in preserving the vitality and viability of lavash making. Unesco’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage includes the Armenian duduk, symbols and craftsmanship used to create khachkars (Armenian “cross-stones”), and the medieval Armenian national epic, “David of Sasoun,” a tale about the struggle of the Armenians of Sasoun (an historic Armenian region, now in Turkey) against Arab domination.
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