Kalash cultural preservation project launched in Pakistan

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Little Kalasha girls in their traditional dresses. (File photo)
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The Kalasha community during a festival.(File photo)
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The Kalasha community during a festival. (File photo)
Updated 03 February 2018
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Kalash cultural preservation project launched in Pakistan

PESHAWAR:The Directorate of Archaeology and Museums in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province launched its “Presevation and Promotion of Kalash Valley” project over the weekend.
Nawazud Din, research officer at the directorate, said the Rs60 million ($543,000) project aims to promote and conserve the unique culture of the ancient Kalash community — an endangered minority in the Hindukush mountain belt of Chitral in northern Pakistan — as well as to attract tourism.
“Kalash has a great deal of tourism potential,” he told Arab News, saying both local and international travelers would find the area had much to offer.
Kalash architecture is a unique mixture of ancient woodcraft and the medieval traditions of figure art. Kalash buildings typically feature magnificently carved wooden pillars and beams decorated with human and animal figures and effigies — each one depicting a certain myth and superstition.
The area — divided into three main sub-valleys: Barir, Bamboret and Rumbor — is also known for its local handicrafts, including the spinning and weaving of rugs, carpets, belts and headgear. Sayed Gul Kalashi, manager of Chitral Museum, said the valley’s population is currently a little over 4,000. And Kalash activists have been raising concerns over the speed with which that number is shrinking.
The Kalash tribe has been settled in the valley for centuries. The people are widely believed to be descended from Alexander the Great’s soldiers. Indeed, Kalashi told Arab News that when a group of Greek nationals arrived in the valley a few decades ago, the locals were shocked at the resemblance between them and their guests.
The later Greek visitors, she said, “worked for the welfare of the locals” and earned their respect. They launched education and health projects “because the area is underdeveloped and lacks basic amenities,” and also set up a museum in Bamboret.
Chitral’s deputy commissioner, Irshad Sadhar, told Arab News that local authorities have banned the purchase or sale of land in Kalash valley in order to protect cultural heritage sites.
“We are preserving their places of worship, graveyards and where they usually dance during their festivals,” he explained, adding that they are also “creating places for tourists too.”


Philippines breaks tourism record in 2018

Updated 47 min 59 sec ago
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Philippines breaks tourism record in 2018

  • The country saw the number of visitors jump by nearly eight percent over the previous year
  • “The country’s top sun-and-beach destination has evidently become a blessing in disguise,” said Philippine tourism secretary

MANILA: The Philippines welcomed a record 7.1 million tourists to its beaches and dive spots in 2018, despite its most famous resort Boracay being shut half the year to recover, authorities said Thursday.
The archipelago nation of over 7,000 islands saw the number of visitors jump by nearly eight percent over the previous year, with South Koreans leading the way as its top tourists.
This growth came without much help from Boracay, which was closed for clean up from April to October after President Rodrigo Duterte branded it a “cesspool” fouled by reckless development.
Before the closure, the tiny island’s white sand beaches and turquoise waters were seeing some two million sun worshippers a year.
“The challenging act of closing down Boracay... the country’s top sun-and-beach destination has evidently become a blessing in disguise,” said Philippine tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
Other spots like natural paradise Palawan and beach destination Siargao island saw a jump in foreign tourists during the closure.
While South Korean led the pack with 1.6 million tourists, Chinese arrivals jumped by nearly 30 percent over 2017 to hit 1.3 million, the department of tourism said.
Americans visitors to the former US colony were at one million.