On November 8, Audrey Azoulay，Director-General of UNESCO, announced that 49 cities had been approved to join the Creative Cities Network. Among them, Huai'an and Weifang, China were named "city of Gastronomy" and "city of Crafts and Folk Art" respectively. Up to now, the number of members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network has reached 295, covering 90 countries, including Crafts and Folk Art, design, film, Gastronomy, literature, media art and music.
Photo via https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/
Huai'an—A City of Gastronomy
Photo source: http://www.yangzhoucityofgastronomy.com
Huai'an, Jiangsu Province, which is honored as a City of Gastronomy, is one of the cradles and inheritors of Huaiyang cuisine. Huai’an has been awarded "The Home of Huaiyang Cuisine" and "China Famous Food City". Huaiyang cuisine originated from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.) and culminated in the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). It plays a leading role in many landmark parties including the first feast of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Nowadays, Huai’an is home to more than 1300 representative dishes and refreshments, 298 of which are on the list of provincial-level intangible cultural heritage, making Huai’an rank national first in number. In 2017, Yangzhou, another cradle of Huaiyang cuisine in Jiangsu Province, was designated as a UNESCO Creativity City of Gastronomy. The designation of Huai'ai and Yangzhou means that the twin cities, a bite of Jiangsu Province, will go out to the world with Huaiyang flavour.
Weifang—A City of Crafts and Folk Art
Weifang, Shandong Province, which is designated as a City of Crafts and Folk Art, has been home to the advanced handicraft industry in history. It is renowned for a long history of folk art, commonly called "China's Handcraft City: Suzhou in the south, Weifang in the north". Weifang currently has guqin, a traditional Chinese stringed musical instrument, and paper-cutting listed as masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Among the city's 17 national-level intangible cultural heritages, 10 are crafts and folk arts. More than 200 traditional handicrafts such as kites, New Year paintings, fruit pit carving, silver inlay lacquer, silk, etc. are alive in modern society with precious value, making Weifang distinctive in regional culture.
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), one of the three UNESCO's cultural brands, was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. And the selection is held every two years. The 295 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level. Until now, 16 cities in China have joined the UCCN, demonstrating the cultural diversity and creative capacity of Chinese cities.