Everywhere you go in Morocco you won’t help but notice the vibrant collections of rugs and carpets. From wall to wall, ceiling to floor in the market place rugs will be sold by the thousands. In every Riad, restaurant or traditional Moroccan home the floors will be covered in these warm, colourful, inviting pieces. Moroccan carpets are of the finest quality, painstakingly created by the talented women when time permits and once their home duties have been fulfilled. No two rugs are the same and each bears traditional symbols, colours and motifs known to their specific tribe or location creating a map of sorts, so those in the know can easily identify where each piece has been created. These symbols may represent a woman’s wish for fertility, good health or in honour of a birth, death or marriage.
These beautiful, collectable carpets are made using age old techniques of hand knotting and weaving, dying fine wools with natural vegetable dyes and creating each rug on a loom. Each piece can take months to create- the fine details and intricate designs are truly a labour of love not to be rushed.
There are so many differing styles and regions of production that selecting just the right piece can be a bit daunting. Here are a few different styles available to choose from-
-Rural rugs are created by the traditional, Berber tribes people. They are hand woven
into abstract patterns and symbols representing the creator’s particular tribe and the story they wish to tell.
-Zanafi carpets, made in the Middle Atlas region have a thicker, wool pile- these are much warmer to keep out the cold known to this region.
-Shedwi carpets are cream coloured with simple black or brown patterns.
-Kilim rugs, from Chichaoua are flat, woven rugs. Stunning, geometric designs in black, white and yellow over a background of vibrant red set these rugs aside from all others.
Purchasing a rug in Morocco is a serious business. A top quality carpet can cost thousands of dollars, where as the Kilim rugs are more affordable and easier to carry on your travels too. They can most commonly be purchased at the souks in Fes and Marrakesh or bought directly from co-ops and Berber villages where they are produced. You should always choose the rug you’d like to have an only ask the price if you are willing to buy it. Negotiations or “haggling” are essential and great patience is required until both parties are satisfied with the final price. As a general rule, decide on your budget, offer half of their starting offer and go from there. Great fun to be had and the Moroccan hospitality will ensure you are satisfied with many cups of tea and warm, playful smiles. But remember to always be respectful during negotiations as their livelihood and pride are at stake. At the end you will have a one of a kind, priceless piece for your home, a constant reminder of a wonderful experience, a unique culture and a treasured holiday in Morocco!