– Handicrafts are a vital
part of the aesthetic culture that characterized Syrians
across history. The skill of Syrian craftsmen, inherited
over thousands of years, helped them to craft innovations
that became models of precision, finesse and creativity.
Most of traditional
handicrafts can be seen at the Handicrafts Market in
Damascus, an important tourist attraction that contains a
variety of handicrafts ranging from Damascus swords, wood
carvings, Damascene wood mosaics, Damask, and more.
In a statement to SANA,
Minister of Tourism Dr. Saadalla Agha al-Qalaa underlined
the important role of traditional handicrafts in promoting
tourism, since they reflect the arts and traditions of
He noted that recent years
witnessed a growth in the numbers of tourists and in
promoting tourist products, including handicrafts, which
reflected positively on craftsmen and helped preserve
traditional handicrafts by opening up new markets.
One of the most famous
handicrafts is the Damask, or the Damascene Brocade, which
is the art of weaving natural silk with gold and silver
threads using a traditional wooden shuttle, producing
patterns of remarkable precision. There are three types of
Damask; one used for clothing, another for decoration, and
the third for furniture.
Another notable craft is
Damascene wood mosaic, which is the art of inlaying wood
with colored wood veneer in various geometrical patterns.
Mosaic veneers are made of various types of wood such as
walnut, Eucalyptus and rosewood, with each one having a
unique color to give the patterns the desired effect.
Mosaics range from simple
trinkets such as boxes or frames to furniture, with some
pieces inlayed with seashells.
The Damascus sword is another
ancient and renowned craft, mainly because of the legendary
durability of the Damascus steel that is used to make them.
The process of making
Damascus steel involves casting a steel alloy with precise
amounts of carbon, magnesium sulfur, phosphorus and other
organic materials, which are then heated, hammered and
pulled to produce thin steel bars. These bars are then
heated, weaved together, and hammered, causing them to fuse
together and produce a smooth blade with unique, distinct
Swords are decorated in
various ways, including writing poetry or Quran verses in
liquid gold on the blade, inlaying gold and silver into the
handle, and inlaying the scabbard with gold, silver, copper,
lead, iron, gems, seashell and bone.
The Department of the
Damascus Old City is working to revive and support 33
handicrafts which are waning by renovating an old school and
transforming it into a market for these handicrafts.
H. Sabbagh / Mazen