File photo: In Istanbul, Turkey, tea vendors still walk the city streets, offering drinks to traders and their customers. (AFP/Ozan Kose)

ISTANBUL: Tea culture, practiced in both Turkey and Azerbaijan, was added to UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage on Thursday, recognizing it as a symbol of “identity, hospitality and social interaction.”

Drinking all day long throughout Turkey, tea is traditionally made in small samovars and served in small tulip-shaped glasses that rest on the palm of your hand.

The UN cultural agency acknowledged the strong social significance of the ceremony in a statement announcing the decision.

“Tea culture in Azerbaijan and Turkiye is an important social practice that shows hospitality, builds and maintains social bonds, and is used to celebrate important moments in the lives of local communities,” it said. I was.

It is taken at bazaars across the country, and tea vendors still roam the city streets, offering traders and their customers the drink on metal trays.

UNESCO notes that in some parts of Azerbaijan, people add spices and herbs such as cinnamon, ginger and thyme.

“Tea culture is an integral part of everyday life for all strata of society, providing a strong sense of cultural identity,” said a UNESCO statement.

Other traditional practices recognized by the United Nations on Thursday included “traditional tea-processing techniques and related social practices” in China.

Most of the tea drunk in Turkey is harvested in the northeastern hills of the country overlooking the Black Sea.

Turkey’s famous coffee was added to the UNESCO list in 2013, but the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, encouraged tea drinking to support domestic production.

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