Egypt has opened the Fustat Pottery Village, the country’s largest place for traditional Egyptian pottery making, with the aim of reviving one of the oldest handicrafts in the North African country.
Located in the Old Cairo district, the Fustat Pottery Village, which comprises 152 workshops, has gone through an all-out development process in recent years as part of the government’s strategy to support and encourage handicrafts.
“The development works included connecting water, natural gas, electricity and sewerage utilities,” Governor of Cairo, Khaled Abdel-Aal, said during the opening ceremony on Saturday, adding that works are underway to replace traditional ovens with eco-friendly gas ovens.
The governor noted that the governorate began establishing the city in 2005 at a total cost of 100 million pounds (about 6.3 million U.S. dollars), pointing out that the project remained stalled for 15 years until the state intervened and provided necessary support to complete the project and raise the efficiency of the entire surrounding area after removing slums.
“The efficiency of the workshops’ buildings has been also elevated. The village has green landscape, in addition to installing shelves on the walls of each workshop to display products in an aesthetic way,” Abdel-Aal said.
The governor added that the governorate is seeking to put the village on the map of tourist attractions and programs in order to activate the sale of pottery products at the local and international levels.
“The village will have a significant and effective role in revitalizing the whole area that embraces the Religious Complex, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization and the under-construction Al-Fustat Hills Garden,” he said.
After the inauguration, a two-day exhibition was opened to show ceramic and pottery products made by the village’s craftsmen.
The exhibition also includes a pavilion for children, where they can learn how to make pottery products and color them in a neat way.
For the village’s artisans, the project will help them market their products locally and internationally since the government will be fully taking care of the village’s affairs.
“The village will attract tourists who visit nearby tourist sites, which means that we will sell more,” Fathi Taha, a 62-year-old potter, told Xinhua.
He said that the village has been fully restored and developed in a way that facilitates craftsmen’s work, noting that the old equipment and machinery used in the industry have been changed with modern eco-friendly and automatic ones.
“The establishment of this village will also help us preserve this important craft which has been deeply rooted in Egypt,” the man added.