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Ardhah recognised with UNESCO heritage status

Ardhah recognised with UNESCO heritage status

Oman’s traditional racing event, horse and camel Ardhah, has been awarded Intangible Cultural Heritage status by UNESCO.

Ardhah means ‘to perform’ in Arabic and the horse and camel Ardhah is a spectacular performance that often takes place during religious and national celebrations.

The event reflects both the Omani culture and the country’s devotion to animal care.

During horse and camel Ardhahs, both male and female jockeys perform a variety of impressive displays with horses and camels which are draped in decorative dress and silver adornments.

Traditional arts, such as poetry recitals, complement the demonstrations.


Director general Salem Adi Al Mamari from the Oman Ministry of Tourism, said: “We are proud and delighted that this important tradition has been recognised by such a highly regarded international body.

“Horse and camel Ardhah is practiced across many regions of Oman and it is an integral part of our culture in both rural and urban areas, bringing the community together during key celebrations.”

The list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was established in 2008 with the aim of protecting intangible cultural heritages worldwide.

The latest ceremony awarded 31 new cultural traditions including traditional Korean wrestling, the reggae music of Jamaica and avalanche risk management in Austria.

Oman now has eight traditions on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list including Arabic coffee, Al-Razfa Rafza, a traditional performing art and the Al-Bar’ah music and dance of the Oman Dhofari valleys.