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El-Fekha Traditional Carpets: Knotting with Heritage

El-Fekha Traditional CarpetsThe origin of the carpet craft of el-Fekha is from the town of Bergama situated on the north-western coast of Turkey, in the Province of Izmir. The 11th century origin
Bergama carpets are very decorative and durable. They are an attestation to the pastoral life style of the Yörük (Yuruks) clans populating the area at that time, before
moving to South-east of Turkey.
The carpet making craft was introduced to Lebanon during the Ottoman occupation, in the 18th century. It was first used in Aakkar region and more precisely in the
villages of Aaidamoun and el-Kwashra inhabited by Turkmen populations. It reached el-Fekha village in the beginning of the 19th century when Rahmeh el-Hage
from Aakkar married Hassan el-Sheikh Succaria from Succaria family in el-Fekha and brought this skill with her. That was around the year 1880.
With time, nearly every house had a loom operating in this part of the Beqaa valley (El-Fekha and Aarsal). The necessary material which was sheep wool was found in abundance here and the technique was absorbed by the women of the village.
Every house used to produce its own carpets, blankets, and covers with this loom technique. They used to satisfy as well the demand of all the Beqaa main cities, such as Hermel, Baalbak and Zahle.
Today, with the advent of the mechanized industry, the handicraft of carpets is nearly extinct. Only those who need to decorate their houses with an artisanal item
buy a carpet from el-Fekha; and few families still offer to their newly married daughter a set of carpets with its cushions (in Arabic: masnad and dawshak) . Therefore SPNL is committed to revive this traditional craft within the Hima El-Fekha project.

Carpet making process:
Phase 1: Wool cutting from sheep; Wool Storage;
Phase 2: Wool Washing; Wool Drying;
Phase 3: Wool Carding; Wool Spinning;
Phase 4: Wool Dyeing; Wool Drying
Phase 5: Wool knotting;

Wool natural dyeing technique:
The colors were extracted from nature: plants, trees, leaves, fruits, such as walnut, onion, pomegranate, … The craftswomen used to dye the wool in large containers
on the wood fire in the garden of the house near the water canal. Today they use chemical colors imported from Germany. The result is different and the colors are
too peeping. SPNL promotes the use of natural dye techniques in the new designs of El-Fekha carpet.

Other attractions in the region:
– In Jdeydet el-Fekha:
o Al-Rashid Guesthouse
o The Hima hiking trails
o Qana el-Qaaiyyeh Historical Water Canal
(Qana Zannoubiya)
o The Arak grapes distillery house
– In Ras Baalbak: (4 km)
o Deir es-Saydeh (Our Lady)
Historical Monastery
o Oud Instruments Maker
(Nazih el-Ghadbane)
o Molasses eco-museum
– In Hermel: (15 km)
o Qamouaa el-Hermel historical tombs
o Al-Aasi Orontes river (Ez-Zarqa Water
Source and the restaurants along the river)
o “Rafting” on the Aasy river.


 

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