The Department of Heritage and Identity has since 2010 registered Qatar’s archaeological and cultural heritage sites as UNESCO world heritage sites.
The bisht could soon come under the international spotlight once again after Qatar’s Ministry of Culture’s Department of Heritage and Identity announced a bid to include the traditional cloak in the upcoming World Heritage Day 2024, Qatar News Agency reported.
“The ministry said in a statement it would submit two proposals to nominate the Bisht (an elegant Qatari dress for men) and the Ardha Dance (a folk dance in Qatar) to be included in the World Heritage Day 2024,” the report said.
The bisht is a traditional men’s cloak that is part of the region’s ancient heritage and is worn in special ceremonies.
The word ‘bisht’ topped the list of the most searched topic worldwide on Google last year, after Argentine star player Lionel Messi was draped in the traditional Qatari garment during celebrations at the 2022 Qatar World Cup final.
The black garment, lined with a gold design and known locally as a ‘bisht’, was draped onto the World Cup champion by Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. For the Arab hosts of the region’s first World Cup, the gifting of the bisht was a symbolic a part of Arab culture to honour guests.
It soon became an iconic piece of clothing and was seen worn by various nationalities around the streets of Qatar.
“The image, of Messi covered and cloaked in the traditional Qatari garment, symbolised union. Even more so, cultural harmony between an Argentinian icon who will always be remembered for cementing his legendary career in Qatar, an Arab and Muslim nation that, like him, was underestimated for its size and stature,” penned Khaled Beydoun, a law professor at Wayne State University and the Berkman Center at Harvard.
The ministry said it also proposed the ardha folklore dance for the annual day, which is observed on 18 April every year.
This year’s World Heritage Day 2023 was organised under the theme “Heritage Changes” due to the negative consequences of climate change, which endanger historical and cultural landmarks.