A Small Town In Spain Launches UNESCO Bid For Its Outdoor Chats The small town of Algar in southern Spain has a long tradition of outdoor chats during the hot summer months. The mayor requests the activity be awarded UNESCO world heritage status.

A Small Town In Spain Launches UNESCO Bid For Its Outdoor Chats

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1027689265/1027689266" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Neapolitan pizza, camel racing and Finnish sauna culture - all on the list of treasures that are recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. One town in the south of Spain wants its cultural tradition added to that list.

FERNANDO GARCIA: (Non-English language spoken).

SIMON: That's Fernando Garcia. He's a journalist from Algar, a city of about 1,400 people. Almost every night, his neighbors and family sit outside their homes and share stories from their day. It's become a tradition known as the charlas al fresco or outdoor chats.

GARCIA: (Non-English language spoken).

SIMON: He says Algar is a place where the doors are always open and the people are warm and welcoming. The tradition of charlas al fresco happened before and sometimes after dinner. It's a chance for the community to share all kinds of local news, like when one of the locals won a $20,000 - euro - lottery prize. Mr. Garcia says that as more people use social media, less people are going outside to talk in person.

GARCIA: (Non-English language spoken).

SIMON: Fernando Garcia says he hopes UNESCO will grant them world heritage status to help keep the tradition alive. Even during the pandemic, the simple act of going outside to talk, 6 feet apart and with a mask on, was beneficial to many of the older residents of Algar.

GARCIA: (Non-English language spoken).

SIMON: And he says even if they're not recognized by UNESCO, they still gained something.

GARCIA: (Non-English language spoken).

SIMON: He says he's happy his small hometown is getting attention. And once it's safe to travel again, maybe tourists can even join in their nightly outdoor chats. Fernando Garcia of Algar, Spain.


Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.