Marrakesh is called the red city in reference to its royal history. It is a busy trading hub and home to mosques, castles and gardens. The Medina is a thickly pressed, walled medieval city dating to the Berber Empire, with maze-like back streets where flourishing souks offer traditional materials, pottery and adornments. The Moorish minaret of twelfth century Koutoubia Mosque is a landmark of the city and visible for miles around.
Marrakeshis famous for its handcraft, particularly handmade products such as Moroccan rugs, Metalworking, Clothing, leather goods, pottery and marquetry.
Even in this modern 21st century, in Marrakesh there still exists a medieval universe of skilled workers who are making artistic masterpieces with their hands. The traditions used in these masterful crafts have been preserved by the Moroccan culture of passing knowledge from generation to generation. It is in reverence of the respect Moroccans have for their ancestry and history that they value the practical knowledge passed down from parent to child which has seen these crafts continue to thrive despite the growing trends of mechanisation.
Let’s talk about some of the famous Moroccan handcraft items that you can surely find when you are strolling Marrakesh:
Referred to locally as “Zerbiya”, rugs make excellent floor coverings. During the 13th century, the Medina was flooded with a large number of weaving studios, and numerous workers in charge. It is the longevity of this trade that enables Marrakesh to retain its strong reputation for woven crafts in rugs, pillows, cushions, blankets and poufs to name a few, and the fashionable interior design status that comes with that.
Marrakesh is also known for its metalwork, which include handmade crafts like tea kettles, side tables, lights and mirror frames. The souks are perfect for looking into workshops and commissioning metalwork products. The city is most famous for its bronzewares and copperwares. Glass work, musical instruments, wood carvings and bone carvings are only a couple of other traditional Moroccan crafts.
While most people associate the kaftan and djellaba as distinctly Moroccan clothing, there is actually a much wider variety of apparel to be spotted in the city. The most popular production in Marrakesh is the jabador, a set with light-weight pants and a tunic. Another Moroccan handmade piece of clothing is the selham. A long, sleeveless piece of clothing, it affixes rather like a cape. Gifted tailors and seamstresses likewise make a specific kind of djellaba, known as a Djellaba Biziwiya.
Marrakesh is home to some of the most seasoned and biggest leather tanneries on the planet. It is nothing unexpected then, to discover that the city is acclaimed for its handmade leather goods. You can discover items such as: packs, belts and shoes that have been privately made and in addition to footrests and other leather goods. Amongst the leather goods you find in Marrakesh streets are leather poufs which have a powerful presence in the field of Moroccan handmade interior design.
The city is a centre for the traditional footwear, “Balgha”, a handcrafted flat and heelless leather shoes, like a slipper. You can wear “Balgha” both outside and inside the home.
Pottery production has been a noteworthy industry in Marrakesh for many years. The encompassing zones create rich clay, handcrafted on a foot-worked potter’s wheel, then set in the sun to dry, painted, and fired in a kiln. Go for a walk through the Pottery Village and you will see as craftspeople work the clay.
Marquetry is another conventional art which include ornaments, wooden furniture and chess sets, as well as little wooden boxes prepared in cedar, oak and thuya, and boxes outlines decorated with camel bone. Numerous wooden goods are decorated with facade or mother of pearl.
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