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on the Polish National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

The National Institute of Cultural Heritage has announced the decision to include Gdansk carillon culture on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Currently, 49 items are listed on it. This will enable Gdańsk and the Museum of Gdańsk to continue their efforts to include the almost 500-year-old musical tradition of the city on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


For nearly 500 years, the sounds of our carillons have accompanied the inhabitants of Gdańsk during the most important moments for the city. As the only ones in Poland, they make our city even more special. The inclusion of carillon music in Gdańsk on the list of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage shows that not only monuments or works of art can gain recognition. It is also important to cultivate a seemingly fleeting tradition, which in this case is the sound from the towers of St. Catherine’s Church and the Main Town Hall that has been known to the inhabitants of Gdańsk for hundreds of years – says Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Mayor of Gdańsk.


The first carillon concert was performed from the tower of the Main Town Hall on 23 September 1561 on the occasion of installing a gilded statue of King Sigismund II Augustus on the spire. Since then, until 1942, the city maintained more than 38 city carillonists and assistant carillonists. Thanks to the work of dozens of people, the most important city celebrations, such as visits of crowned heads, and everyday life of the city were accompanied by occasional pieces resonating from bells weighing from several to several hundred kilograms. Today, after the destruction resulting from the Second World War, Gdańsk is the only city in Poland that can boast of having operating carillons. Over the past three decades, thanks to the efforts of the late Paweł Adamowicz, the carillons of St. Catherine’s Church (50 bells) and the Main Town Hall (37 bells) were rebuilt. The third one – carillon called „Gdańsk” – is a mobile instrument (48 bells), which can reach almost any town in Poland and Europe. They are managed by the Museum of Gdańsk.


The carillon culture in Gdańsk is returning to its splendour. According to a survey conducted among the respondents, the carillon culture of Gdańsk is considered important and is a recognizable symbol of the city on a par with the most popular elements of identity, such as the Neptune Fountain, the Artus Court, or the St. Mary’s Basilica. We would like to thank all the supporters for their support, without which the carillons would not have been honoured in this way – says Waldemar Ossowski, Director of the Museum of Gdańsk.


The 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, ratified by Poland, obliges the states parties to identify elements of the intangible cultural heritage present in their territories following the recommendations and standards of the convention.