Alpan, Uzunmeshe, Kurkun and Susay villages, with a population of only 5,149, are located in a mountainous area of Guba in northern Azerbaijan. These communities have been a center of fine carpet weaving for centuries. Experts say these carpets, long renowned for their durability and unique designs, have a special shine and velvety texture, and a spectrum of sober classic colors that starts “flower” over time. One of the secrets of the beauty and longevity of Alpan carpets is the natural dyes used by carpet weavers since ancient times. However, this ancient art was in danger of extinction due to lack of appropriate infrastructure and necessary resources.
In 2017, EWMI’s USAID-funded Socio-Economic Development Activity (SEDA) collaborated with the carpet weavers to help reinvigorate the traditional carpet weaving economy. With technical support from SEDA, Alpan village residents worked with their local and regional governments to construct a brand new facility for designing and weaving carpets and included a training hall to help pass on the ancient skills and techniques to newer generations.
Opened on November 7, 2017, today the carpet weaving center is flourishing. In addition to revitalizing Guba’s ancient carpet trade and giving women skills they can use the generate income, the center is also a place where women can come together and share ideas on addressing common challenges. The video below highlights what has been accomplished at the center since opening over two years ago.
EWMI’s Socio-Economic Development Activity is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and co-financed by the Government of Azerbaijan.