Despite the Advent of Technology, Residents of Mosul Hold Tight to Ancient Crafts


This manufacturer in Mosul produces cotton-made products by hand, continuing a proud tradition handed down from generation to generation. 

These traditional craftsmen in the ancient city of Mosul in northern Iraq have held on to their tradition of collecting wool and cotton to locally produce hand-made products. Although their industry was hit hard by the occupation of Mosul by ISIS and faces stiff competition in a modern economy, they have fought the odds to preserve their manufacturing traditions. The shop was initially located in the Sarj Khana district of Mosul, but it was relocated due to the destruction caused during the reign of ISIS in the city.

The owner of the establishment laments that the younger generations are not passing on the tradition as they have done throughout history. Nevertheless, their products are still in demand as people come to purchase the hand-made pillows, blankets and mattresses. He staunchly believes that the products they make are of a higher quality than similar products imported from foreign countries. Indeed, foreign-imported products often come at a lower cost and are popular with the market, however there is a willingness to preserve local production.

A young employee working at the shop comments that the main obstacle facing the establishment is the shortages in electricity provision: “There is often an electricity shortage and it affects us a lot. Without electricity, we stop working.”

Mosul has been undergoing a comprehensive reconstruction process since the city’s liberation from ISIS in mid-2017. This process has involved the rehabilitation and improvement of infrastructure in the city so that shops such as these can function as they did before the ISIS occupation.

The economy of Mosul has indeed seen improvements thanks to reconstruction efforts, which have also brought thousands of residents back to their homes. Nevertheless, there is much work left to be done to restore the former grandeur of a city that was for a short period known to be the centre of ISIS rule in Iraq.