Architectural Reflections of Falconry (Sparrowhawking) Tradition as an Intangible Heritage of Eastern Black Sea Region


  • Koray Güler


Intangible Heritage, Eastern Blacksea, Sparrowhawking, Unity of Tangible and Intangible Values in Conservation, Holistic Conservation Approaches


The falconry (sparrowhawking) tradition, which is an ancient method of obtaining food from nature, has been practiced for centuries in mountain areas of the Eastern Blacksea Region of Turkey as well as in many other regions of the world, is mostly disappearing due to various reasons including the changes in social life, restrictions due to the nature conservation laws, migration and depopulation in the region, etc. Although there is a decrease in the number of falconers, a small number of people, who are living in or have a root from the region, still continue this ritualistic activity for the purposes such as sport, entertainment, relaxation in a natural environment and meeting with the neighbors and relatives. Nowadays, falconry still plays an important social role in the lives of the people in the region. The traces of this living culture can be seen in every area of the lives of local people such as folk songs, stories, poets. Such that, there are statues dedicated to sparrowhawks in the public squares of the towns also the nicknames of the football teams of the region such as Rizespor, Arhavispor, Hopaspor, Ardeşenspor are called sparrowhawks. The practice of falconry was inscribed on “UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” as a living heritage of 18 countries and manifested in the following domains: “Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe”, “Oral traditions and expressions”, “Social practices, rituals, and festive events”, and “Traditional craftsmanship” according to the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The practice, present in many countries around the world, may vary regarding certain aspects, for example the type of equipment used but the methods remain similar. Despite Turkey and neighboring Georgia are not included among these countries, the cultural tradition has similar rituals and characteristics as the other countries. Starting from catching the mole cricket, the process continues with trapping and educating red-backed shrike, constructing the trapping house, trapping the sparrowhawk with this small bird and educating sparrowhawk for hunting quails. In this processes falconers have built some primitive shelters to meet the spatial necessities. This paper aims to discuss the architectural reflections and space uses of falconry tradition in the regional context. It was based on site trips, close observation on the falconers, interviews and the author’s own experiences. Further researches will tell us more about the specific social and cultural meanings of this tradition and will enable us to develop a plan for safeguarding this intangible cultural heritage.


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How to Cite

Güler, K. . (2020). Architectural Reflections of Falconry (Sparrowhawking) Tradition as an Intangible Heritage of Eastern Black Sea Region. ICONARCH International Congress of Architecture and Planning, (Iconarch -IV Proceeding Book), 153–166. Retrieved from



SESSION 1B Theme: Conservation and Regeneration