Shades of Syria in Victoria

I bought my first Syrian carpet in 2001, while on assignment in Aleppo.

The burst of colourful textiles caught my eye as I was wandering around the rustic and historic neighbourhood of Al-Jdeida.

The carpets can be turned over for a different colour
Bought this from a vendor in Al-Jdeida in 2001

Each carpet features different designs and colours which I was told represents the regions it is produced in.

My latest purchase from Melbourne

The ones in Damascus for instance have more contemporary designs while the ones in Aleppo have more traditional motifs.

This two-way carpet was purchased in Melbourne

I was a guest of the Syrian government which was trying to promote Syria as a tourist destination (this was the year 2001), and loved this country that had so much to offer in terms of culture, history, heritage and religious pilgrimages.

Sadly many of the significant sites have been destroyed or looted in the ongoing civil war.

I chanced upon these carpets again last month, in Melbourne’s Victoria Market of all places. (I’ve seen it in Turkey too but designs aren’t quite the same – those reflect the Turkish landscape and culture).

This two-way carpet was purchased in Melbourne

Muhammad, the proprietor of this stall in Victoria market was one of many Syrians who have left their war torn country to build a new life elsewhere.

With him, he brought what he says was the last batch of Syrian carpets produces in different parts of the country before the war broke out.

I of course grabbed a few. It is after all a small piece of a beautiful country destroyed by discord which I hope will be resolved soon.

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