Malta has the first element inscribed on the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is Il-Ftira: the culinary art and culture of flattened sourdough bread in Malta. The approval for inscription took place during the 15th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO which was held in Paris and transmitted online.
Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera welcomed the inscription of Il-Ftira, stating that it is the ministry’s strategy to promote and bring international recognition of our rich national heritage, whether intangible and tangible.
Il-Ftira is hand-made sourdough bread. Making and eating Il-Ftira is part of the cultural heritage of the Maltese archipelago’s inhabitants. Now, Il-Ftira is also part of the international intangible cultural heritage.
Inscription on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List of Humanity means that Il-Ftira becomes an attraction for tourists who will be visiting our islands. Therefore, as a nation, we need to be vigilant to safeguard in the coming years the culinary art and culture of Il-Ftira Maltija.
The Culture Directorate within the ministry has already submitted the second application of L-Għana Maltija which will be discussed by the UNESCO expert committee in December 2021. The Directorate is working on the third application, which is about Il-Festa Maltija.