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Egyptian carpet schools improve locals' lives in Saqqara village

Updated: 2022-07-23 09:53 ( Xinhua )
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Overlooking Saqqara necropolis, some 20 kilometers from the Giza pyramid complex, Saqqara village lies as a tourist attraction with its unique handmade rugs and carpets that represent a characteristic handicraft of the locals for decades.

"All the carpets here are handmade. We've boosted the popularity of Egyptian carpets and now they compete with the Iranian and Turkish ones," said Khaled Mekkawy, manager of a carpet school in Saqqara.

The carpet stores in Saqqara are referred to as "schools" because they provide training and jobs for children during the summer holidays as well as for housewives to use their spare time in a useful and profitable traditional craft.

A typical "carpet school" in the village is divided into two parts, one for carpets weaving on looms and another for exhibiting products of various sizes, colors and designs.

The exhibited carpets and tapestries cover all the walls and columns in the store, including symmetrical works, ones with drawings and designs of pastures and sceneries, and others with pharaonic images like the golden mask of King Tutankhamun, the bust of Queen Nefertiti, and more.

Mekkawy pointed out that customers, whether Egyptians or foreigners, take a tour of the weaving workshop first and then explore the exhibition section to select the rugs or carpets they like, noting that his carpet school, established in 1976, is one of the oldest in Egypt.

"A carpet may last for 400 or 500 years, or even longer. It is why the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo has carpets dating back to the Mamluk rule of Egypt over 700 years ago," the carpet school manager said.

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