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Kerala’s Kozhikode Declared as India’s First ‘City of Literature’ by UNESCO for Its Rich Cultural Heritage

Image Source: hindustantimes.com

Kozhikode in north Kerala, known for its rich cultural heritage, was officially declared India’s first UNESCO ‘City of Literature’ on Sunday.

State Local Self Government Department (LSGD) Minister M B Rajesh announced this achievement at an official event, highlighting Kozhikode’s recognition in the ‘Literature’ category of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

Describing Kozhikode as a city with a soul, Rajesh emphasized its humanity, harmony, strong sense of justice, and freedom of expression. “These core values have given birth to the vibrant art of Kozhikode,” he said.

Rajesh also credited the efficient functioning of the Kozhikode city corporation for securing the ‘City of Literature’ tag from UNESCO, surpassing other culturally rich cities like Kolkata.

The state government declared that starting next year, June 23 will be celebrated as ‘City of Literature’ Day in Kozhikode, honoring its literary legends such as the late S K Pottakkad and Vaikom Muhammed Basheer.

Historically known as the city of Zamorins and referred to as Calicut during British rule, Kozhikode was a key gateway for many foreign traders, including Persians, Arabs, Chinese, and Europeans, centuries ago. It has also been the cradle of the freedom movement in Kerala and a significant destination for book festivals for many decades.

Kozhikode boasts over 500 libraries and has been the base of legendary Malayalam writer M T Vasudevan Nair for several decades.

Alongside Gwalior, Kozhikode is one of the 55 new cities that joined the UCCN. The updated list was published on the UCCN website on World Cities Day, October 31.

These new cities join others recognized by UNESCO, including Bukhara for Crafts and Folk Art, Casablanca for Media Arts, Chongqing for Design, Kathmandu for Film, Rio de Janeiro for Literature, and Ulaanbaatar for Crafts and Folk Art.

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