Estonia files Võru smoke sauna for UNESCO list

Minister of Culture Rein Lang signed an application on Wednesday whereby Estonia seeks the inclusion of the tradition of the Voru smoke sauna, or chimneyless sauna, into the UNESCO intangible heritage list.

UNESCO is scheduled to decide about new entries at the end of 2014, spokespeople for the Ministry of Culture told BNS.

Eino Pedanik, adviser on national culture at the Ministry of Culture, in a press release voiced recognition of the will and initiative of the Voru community in preserving and promoting the tradition. "Inclusion of the smoke sauna tradition in the UNESCO list would help to preserve this tradition, which continues to be alive today, not only in our country but also in other countries where it is known," the official said of the well-known piece of southern Estonian heritage.

As of March 2013 there were 257 cultural phenomena in the list of UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of the Humanity, including three from or related to Estonia. The first was the tradition of the song and dance festivals of the Baltic countries, which made the list in 2003, while the subculture of the Kihnu island and song tradition of Setu leelo followed in 2009.

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