Chios mastic know-how makes UNESCO list

The know-how of cultivating mastic, the aromatic resin of an evergreen that grows on the eastern Aegean island of Chios, has been included by UNESCO on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

According to a statement by the Culture Ministry in Athens, the cultural arm of the United Nations endorsed a Greek request for the special status during its annual conference in Paris, which took place late November.

The decision, the ministry said in its statement, “is an acknowledgement of the value of this element of our cultural heritage and, at the same time, it incorporates it in a global system aimed at the promotion and protection of living traditions.”

Mastic, better known among locals as “mastiha,” only grows in the southern part of the island. The uniqueness of the product is attributed to the area’s particular soil and temperature climate.

“The culture of mastic represents a comprehensive social event, around which networks of alliances and mutual help have been established,” UNESCO said.

“The communal practices are also an occasion for perpetuating collective memory through the narration of old tales and stories,” it said.