Portal de la Cultura - América Latina y el Caribe
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Portal de la Cultura de América Latina y el Caribe


Cultural Heritage


"Memory is a fundamental engine of creativity: this assertion is applicable to individuals as well as to peoples that find in their – natural and cultural, tangible as well as intangible -- heritage the points of reference of their identity and the sources of their inspiration.” (UNESCO)


The importance of cultural heritage is based on its importance as the agent that links each individual or community with its history. It incarnates the symbolic value of cultural identities and provides the key to understand other peoples, thus contributing to an uninterrupted dialogue between civilizations and cultures.

In the context of instant planetary communication and globalization lies the risk of a standardization of culture. Nevertheless, in order to exist, each person needs to give testimony of her/his daily life, to express her/his creative capacity and to preserve the traces of her/his history. This can only be assured through the cultural patrimony.

Latin America and the Caribbean is doubtlessly one of the regions of greater heritage wealth; among the 754 patrimonial riches on the List of Heritage of Humanity, 582 refer to cultural riches, 144 to natural ones and 23 are considered of a mixed character; 109 sites correspond to Latin America and the Caribbean.

But cultural heritage does not include only cities, sites and monuments. It also embraces more abstract manifestations of human creativeness: languages, performing arts, music, social and religion rituals, oral traditions. These living samples of human creativity deserve to be preserved in honor of cultural diversity, as “each creation has its origins in cultural traditions, but it develops fully in contact with others. This is the reason why Heritage, in all its forms, must be preserved, valued and transmitted to future generations as a testimony of human experience and aspirations,” as is enshrined in UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, adopted in 2001.