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Geneva eyes Unesco recognition for Escalade festival

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Geneva eyes Unesco recognition for Escalade festival
Photo: Olivier Miche/Geneva Tourism
09:15 CET+01:00
Geneva’s Escalade festival, which took place on the weekend, should be put on Unesco’s ‘intangible heritage’ list along with other living traditions in Switzerland, according to one local politician.
Liberal-Radical city councillor Vincent Subilia started his campaign over the weekend, telling La Tribune de Genève that recognition by Unesco would help boost the reputation of a festival that is in the city’s “DNA”.
 
 
Currently the Escalade is among 199 so-called living traditions in Switzerland. Two years ago the federal government selected eight of them to submit to Unesco for inclusion on its intangible heritage list, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of living traditions and cultural festivities around the world. 
 
Among those selected were yodelling, watchmaking, alpine livestock traditions and the Helvetica font, along with events such as Basel’s Fasnacht carnival and Vevey’s winegrowers’ festival, both of which have now been approved by Unesco for inclusion. 
 
The Escalade is on a par with those two events, feels Subilia, and recognition by Unesco would “help attract more tourists to Geneva,” he told the paper. 
 
The Company 1602, which organizes the festival each year, supports the move. 
 
“It’s worth a try!” said its president Jean-Paul Vulliety. “Particularly because this is a great tradition that involves the population. The whole city experiences the Escalade.”
 
The Escalade festival celebrates a failed siege of the city on December 11th 1602 when the Duke of Savoy’s army attempted a surprise attack on Geneva but was thwarted by the city’s residents who fought back. 
 
The festival includes two impressive parades through the streets of the Old Town with participants in period dress. 
 
This year's historical parade took place under rainy skies on Sunday but that didn't stop the crowds coming out. 
 
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