How to find your carpets in the medina?

 

Carefully hand-loomed by women from different berber tribes, these delicate zarbiyas (carpets) are the most sought products when travelers come to visit Morocco. Carpet business is going wild in the medina of Marrakech, better follow our friend Alix, founder of Marrakine, in the search of the rare pearl.

 

Marrakech Insiders- Carpets

 

Easy tips when going on a hunt for a carpet are to not appear too interested and to bargain…hardcore. For a good deal, you should manage to get it half the price announced in the first place. Don’t go for antic carpets without a careful research about its history. The business of “new looking old” is fierce and you better avoid it. And above all, don’t do women co-op or local guide good tips.   

 

Once this said, it’s time to learn how to recognize a good quality rug but first, do you know what you are looking for?

 

Here is the summary of the main different types of carpets you can find in Morocco :

 

Azilal – Similar to Beni Ourains in their heavy pile, their difference lays in their colours. Azilals incorporate more geometric shapes and multiple colours of wool.

 

Marrakech Insiders - Azilal

 

Beni Ouarain – 100% sheepskin wool rugs handmade in the Atlas Mountains. Traditionally cream in color with large lozenges or other berber insignia.

 

Marrakech Insiders - Beni Ouarain

 

Boucherouite – Made out of recycled materials, these rugs have become increasingly popular thanks in no small part to their charm and bright colours.

 

Kilim – Usually associated with the Pakistan or Turkey,  Moroccan kilims are as gorgeous as their cousins. They are flat woven and do have awesome designs and colours.

 

Marrakech Insiders - Kilim

 

Boujad – Audacious colours in purples,oranges and pinks & detailed motifs, these are some of the elements that define Boujad rugs.

 

R’bati – Typically in bright reds and blues and sometimes green or purple, these rugs often contain a large diamond motif in the center.

 

 

Now that you know, go hunt in the souks and when your heart starts racing for one of these little nuggets, follow these guidelines:

 

Do the fire test – Pick by yourself a loose edge and hold up your lighter to it. It doesn’t light, it’s wool. It ignites it’s synthetic.

 

– You will find much truth under the carpet, just flip it. The knots on a machine-made carpet will be suspiciously uniform. 

 

Knot count is also often posited as a determinant of quality,  a good rule of thumb with traditional rugs is to look for upwards of 120 knots a square inch.

 

– Pour a few drops of water on the dyed wool to be sure that the dye is not going to bleed.

 

If you prefer, just ask your insider, in between two of our Marrakech secret sights, he will surely help you find your dream carpet.

Marrakech Insiders, the best way to visit Marrakech.

Author

Valeriane