UNESCO Adds Montenegro’s Boka Navy To World Heritage List

The United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO on Thursday added Montenegro’s Boka Navy, one of the world’s oldest maritime organisations, to its list of “intangible” heritage.
Boka Navy was founded in 809 AD in the coastal town of Kotor, and for about 1,000 years served as a brotherhood of seafarers.

It has since lost its original function, and today operates as a folklore group, showcasing traditional dance and costume.
“For the past two centuries, it has played a memorial role, preserving and promoting maritime history and tradition,” UNESCO said.

The city of Kotor itself — a picturesque medieval town in the scenic Adriatic bay of Boka Kotorska — has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.
The Navy’s origin is linked to the arrival of the relics of St Tryphon, the patron saint of Kotor, which is marked by the annual festivities whose backbone is the Boka Navy.

During the festivities, members wear colourful uniforms, carry traditional weapons and perform the traditional circle “kolo” dance.
The Navy is led by an “admiral”, and each year, a boy aged six to 12 is elected to act as a “young admiral”, the symbol of renewal and durability.
“This is a dream come true for members of the Boka Navy,” current admiral of the Boka Navy Antun Sbutega told local media.

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