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1.7.10

Iran has unveiled what it says is the world's largest handmade carpet, a vast green and red floor covering that is larger than a football pitch. The carpet, which took 1,200 weavers some 18 months to make, is destined for a mosque in the United Arab Emirates.
Now, prayers will really have some space to pray. Just one problem with this masterpiece of hand-made craftwork: who's gonna bring it out and beat it? The huge carpet is a magnificent testimony of devotion and richness. Iranian authorities have unveiled the world's largest hand-woven rug at Tehran's open-air prayer grounds.

With a surface of 60,546 square feet (5,625 square meters), the carpet has the size of a soccer field and was woven by 1,200 weavers in three villages over 18 months. The giant carpet was ordered for a monumental new mosque under construction in the United Arab Emirates.

EAU officials commissioned Iran's state-owned rug manufacturer to make the piece for the central prayer hall of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, programmed to be opened in September 2007 in the capital city of Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi). This is destined for one of the world's largest and most expensive mosques, having an estimated cost of $ 700 million. The carpet will cover the floor of the central praying hall, where it will be stitched together after its delivery in nine pieces.

Weavers in Iran's northwestern Khorasan Province employed 38 tons of wool and cotton from Iran and New Zealand for the creation of the colorful floor covering.

"Comprising 2.2 billion knots, it was made with the best wool from the southern Iranian town of Sirjan and from New Zealand in 25 colors," said the head of Iran's state carpet company, Jalaleddin Bassam.

"Of the profits from the carpet, $2.3 million will be dispersed among the villages where it was made, near the town of Neishabbor in the north-eastern Khorasan province," said Bassam about the carpet which is estimated at $ 5.8 million.

But the greatest hope of the Iranian authorities is that the huge carpet will boost publicity to Iran's ancient carpet-weaving industry. Famous since antiquity for its delicate and ornate Persian rugs, which are country's top-earning non-oil export, Iran market share dropped to 40 % ($480 million in 2006) due to competition with cheaper Asian manufacturers. 

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