Prague/Addis Ababa, Dec 1 (CTK) – The UNESCO special committee added Czech and Slovak puppetry to the list of world intangible heritage at its meeting in Addis Ababa on Thursday, Simona Cigankova, spokeswoman for the Czech Culture Ministry, has told CTK.

The Czech Republic had three entries in the UNESCO list until now. They are shrovetide door-to-door processions and masks in the villages of the Hlinsko area, east Bohemia, the Ride of the Kings folklore custom in the south-east of the Czech Republic and the verbunk recruit dance in south-east Moravia.

Falconry in the Czech Republic and other countries was jointly UNESCO-listed in the past.
The committee was assessing 37 applications for entry in the representative list of UNESCO and six in the list of endangered intangible property.

“I appreciate the effort of Czech and Slovak colleagues, their immensely quality work in the joint (Czech and Slovak) nomination of puppetry, which will never go old because it brings joy to children as well as adults and which accompanies our lives from our childhood to the senior age,” Cigankova quoted Culture Minister Daniel Herman as saying.

Czech puppetry has a very long tradition. According to the National Information and Consultancy Centre for Culture, there are nine professional puppet theatres, about 100 independent groups and another 300 amateur groups in the Czech Republic now.
In the mid-20th century, there were still about 3000 ensembles.

The puppetry tradition is developed by a number of festivals in the country. Chrudim, east Bohemia, has had a puppetry museum since 1951, which is the oldest of its kind in Europe.