Thali Temple, Kozhikode
Thali Temple, KozhikodeShaji t / Shutterstock

Kozhikode Makes History As India's First UNESCO 'City Of Literature'

Known for fostering humanity, harmony, and freedom of expression, Kozhikode has long been a hub for literary giants and cultural festivals

Kerala's Kozhikode has been honoured as India's first UNESCO 'City of Literature'. The State Local Self Government Department Minister, MB Rajesh, announced this recognition, highlighting Kozhikode's rich cultural heritage and its contribution to literature.

Describing Kozhikode as a city embodying humanity, harmony, justice, and freedom of expression, Rajesh praised its artistic community nurtured by these values. "These core values have given birth to the vibrant art of Kozhikode," he said.

The minister credited the efficient administration of the Kozhikode city corporation for securing the prestigious 'City of Literature' designation from UNESCO, surpassing cities like Kolkata, renowned for their cultural history. Beginning next year, June 23 will be celebrated annually as 'City of Literature' Day in Kozhikode, honouring its literary luminaries such as SK Pottakkad and Vaikom Muhammed Basheer.

Tourism Minister P A Mohammed Riyas unveiled the UNESCO 'City of Literature' logo during the official event, symbolising Kozhikode's cultural significance.

Formerly known as Calicut during British rule, Kozhikode historically served as a pivotal port city, welcoming Persians, Arabs, Chinese, and Europeans. It has been a hub of literary activities, boasting over 500 functioning libraries and hosting renowned book festivals for decades. Notably, it was the nurturing ground for the scholarly endeavours of acclaimed Malayalam writer MT Vasudevan Nair.

Kozhikode, Kerala
Kozhikode, KeralaMohijaz / Shutterstock

Kozhikode joins Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, recognised for 'Music', among the 55 new cities added to UNESCO's Creative Cities Network. This network now comprises 350 cities across the globe, recognised for their commitment to cultural development and innovative urban planning. Each town is designated under one of UNESCO's seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Media Arts, Music, and Literature.

The newly designated Creative Cities will participate in the 2024 UCCN Annual Conference in Braga, Portugal, focusing on youth engagement and future-oriented strategies. UNESCO's recognition underscores Kozhikode's cultural vibrancy and its pivotal role in promoting literature on the global stage.

(With inputs from PTI)

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