The ancient weaving styles of southeastern Turkey, which has been the cradle of different civilizations for thousands of years, are being revived in Mardin province. In the historical madrassa that was turned into the Mardin Technical Institute in the city, master trainers weave products in line with their original patterns.
Turkey is renowned for its weaving culture practiced with different styles and motifs all across the country. While crafters weave spellbinding silk fabrics featuring historical motifs on special Ottoman looms in the northwestern city of Bursa, the woven products of the southeastern provinces of Mardin, Şırnak and Siirt generally include carpets, rugs and blankets. Additionally, some Turkish artisans dye ropes with natural madder so that weavers can use quality materials in their products.
Dedicated efforts have also been ongoing across Turkey to ensure the survival and prosperity of traditional weaving. For example, the women of the Sivrihisar district in the central province Eskişehir have been restoring antique rugs with modern weaving techniques. The Mardin Technical Institute is now setting its own example of these efforts.
The institute’s historical building was built in two blocks as an Ottoman junior high school on May 11, 1892, on the ruins of the 700-year-old Muzafferiye Madrassa. Located at the foot of Mardin Castle, the building went on to serve as a secondary school, the Mardin High School, a commercial high school, a girls’ institute, a girls’ vocational high school and a primary school. The structure, which was restored by the governor’s office and has been providing education as the Mardin Technical Institute since 2010, now houses efforts to revive dying artistic disciplines like weaving.
A workshop was created in the institute to preserve the weaving culture for future generations. A research team first investigated the weaving culture in southeastern Mardin, Siirt and Şırnak provinces and then master trainers started to weave products such as rugs, blankets, runners, sofa covers, prayer rugs and saddlebags in line with information provided by the research team.