Online marketplace for handicrafts launched in East Azarbaijan

February 20, 2021 - 18:3

TEHRAN – An online crafts marketplace, aimed to boost sales of local handmade products and souvenirs, was launched in northwestern East Azarbaijan province on Wednesday. 

The necessary platform and infrastructure for comprehensive e-commerce have been developed in the province to drive up handicraft sales to all over the world, the deputy governor-general, Javad Rahmati, said addressing the inauguration ceremony. 

Although the outbreak of the coronavirus has affected the handicrafts sector of the province, such markets could introduce the crafters’ handmade products to their customers directly, the official added. 

It also could promote the products properly, which could contribute artisans to reach bigger and better markets that lead to economic prosperity, he explained. 

Ahmad Hamzezadeh, the provincial tourism chief, was another speaker at the ceremony, who said over 5,000 handmade products have been put on sale in this market. 

Currently, over 85 handicrafts fields are being practiced by 14,000 artisans and crafters across the province, he added. 

Capital of East Azarbaijan province, Tabriz, which is well-soaked in history and culture for millennia, embraces several historical and religious sites, including Jameh Mosque of Tabriz and Arg of Tabriz, and UNESCO-registered Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex to name a few.

The ancient city was declared a world craft city of carpet weaving by the World Craft in 2016. It also bore the title of 2018 Islamic Tourism Capital.

Tabriz became the capital of the Mongol Il-Khan Mahmud Gazan (1295–1304) and his successor. Timur (Tamerlane), a Turkic conqueror, took it in 1392. Some decades later the Kara Koyunlu Turkmen made it their capital, it was when the famous Blue Mosque was built in Tabriz.

The city retained its administrative status under the Safavid dynasty until 1548, when Shah Tahmasp I relocated his capital westward to Qazvin. During the next two centuries, Tabriz changed hands several times between Persia and Ottoman Empire. During World War I, the city was temporarily occupied by Turkish and then Soviet troops.

With 14 entries, Iran ranks first globally for the number of cities and villages registered by the World Crafts Council, as China with seven entries, Chile with four, and India with three ones come next.

In January 2020, the cities of Shiraz, Malayer, and Zanjan and the village of Qassemabad were designated by the WCC- Asia Pacific Region, putting Iran’s number of world crafts cities and villages from ten to 14.

Shiraz was named a “world city of [diverse] handicrafts”. Malayer was made a global hub for woodcarving and carved-wood furniture. Zanjan gained the title of a “world city of filigree”. And Qassemabad village, which is nationally known for its traditional costumes, was also promoted to a world hub of handicrafts. Chador Shab, a kind of homemade outer-garment for women, was, however, the main subject for the WCC assessment for the village.

Iran exported $523 million worth of handicrafts during the calendar year 1398 (ended March 19, 2020). Of the figure, some $273 million worth of handicrafts were exported officially through customs, and about $250 million was earned via suitcase trade (allowed for customs-free and tax-free transfer) through various provinces, according to data provided by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.

Ceramics, pottery vessels, handwoven cloths as well as personal ornamentations with precious and semi-precious gemstones are traditionally exported to Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, the U.S., the UK, and other countries.

ABU/AFM

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