04 January, 2011

Presided by an Angevin, the french falconery recognised by Unesco as world heritage

The efforts of an Anjou inhabitant in favor of the survival of an ancestral tradition have been recently recognized at world level. The Unesco decided in mid-november to register the falconery, which is "the traditional activity of keeping and training falcons to take quarry in its natural state... practised for more than 4 000 years", in the list of the "intangible cultural heritage of humanity". This know how is protected and promoted in France by the Association nationale des fauconniers et autoursiers français, which chairman is the Angevin Philippe Justeau. And the European Parliament of Strasbourg will celebrate Unesco recognition on next january 19th.

In Europe, the first book dedicated to falconery was published in 1245  and was titled "De arte venandi cum avibus" ("The art of hunting with birds"). Falconery, at its peak under Louis XIII reign and widely practised at the French royal court by the nobility, is nowadays the activity of a few hundreds of persons who dedicate their lifetime to their birds.

Three others french activities have been included in that Unesco's list on the same day: the compagnonnage, network for on-the-job transmission of knowledge and identities, the craftsmanship of Alençon needle lace-making and the gastronomic meal of the French.

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