Mangala, strategy board game

Traditional Turkish strategic game of Mangala added to UNESCO’s list

Played for centuries in the Ottoman Empire, the origins of this ancient strategy board game date back to the Roman Empire.

UNESCO has included the traditional Turkish strategic game of Mangala in its Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as announced yesterday by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Our multinational nomination file of ‘Traditional intelligence and strategy game: Togyzqumalaq, Toguz Korgool, Mangala/Göçürme’ submitted with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, during the 15th Session of Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage which is being held online between 14-19 December 2020,” Turkish foreign ministry announced in a statement.

A day earlier, on Wednesday, the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, had announced via Twitter that UNESCO had also included in its list the art of the Turkish miniature, an Ottoman art form linked to the tradition of the Persian miniature dating from the Middle Ages, and which through illustrations shows events following the tradition of Islamic art.

Mangala is a traditional strategy board game that can be played between two people or in groups, and has been played for centuries in palaces, taverns and even mosques throughout the Ottoman Empire as a way of socialising.

The origins of this strategic game, also known in other countries as manqala, are not clear, although evidence has been found that it was played in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire about the 3rd century. Today variants of this game are played all over the world. With the inscription of the traditional game of Mangala, there are already 20 cultural elements that Turkey has registered in UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage.