Monday, July 28, 2008

In Search of the World's Largest Carpet...

This past week, a Google Alert appeared in my inbox and immediately caught my eye: "Biggest Hand-Made Carpet in World" it read, proclaiming this achievement in the Turkish Press, with a dateline from a little community called Nigde.

Of course I clicked on the link to read more. I realize that I'm easily distracted, but who can resist the world's biggest carpet?

The article stated that the alleged "Biggest Hand-Made Carpet" was created from two tons of wool acquired from 3,000 sheep and weighs 2,350 kilograms. And only six girls wove the entire 6.5m x 25.5m carpet (take a look at the carpet in the photo to the right).

Needless to say, I was impressed. Carpet weaving is a form of art, one that has been revered and practiced for centuries. I wanted to share this feat of skill with all of you, so I decided to do a little more research. My online searching came up with very little, unsurfacing the same article with nearly every link. But then I tried a few other search terms...

... And it turns out that the Biggest Hand-Made Carpet is not, in fact, the biggest after all.

This is:
Created for a mosque in Tehran, the real largest hand woven carpet in the world is the size of a football field -- 60,546 square feet to be exact. Weavers in Iran's northwestern Khorasan Province used 38 tons of wool and cotton from Iran and New Zealand to create the carpet. Fun fact: it's made up of 2.2 billion knots.

The mosque is called Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It is named after the founder of the United Arab Emirates, Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan. [A fascinating man and leader in his own right.]

According to the Immense Knowledge blog, "The carpet is called the Qasr al-Alam (The Palace of the World) and took Ali Khaliqi, an Iranian artist, eight months to design. It was woven by 1,200 women, aged between 15 and 60, over 16 months. Working in three villages in northeastern Iran, they tied 2.2 billion knots and used 38 tonnes of the finest moth proof wool and cotton. They were supervised by 50 men acting as technical experts."

The Immense Knowledge blog also states that the Palace of the World features traditional Persian designs like swirling vines and medallion centerpieces. In the photo above, the carpet rests in an open air prayer ground in Tehran.

I'm not sure carpet gets any better (or bigger) than that...

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