Khan Murjan Souk in Wafi Mall unveils resident artisans from the Arab world
Souk inspired by 14th century original in Baghdad becomes permanent home to authentic craftsmanship
Khan Murjan Souk, Wafi Mall’s authentic homage to the original souk once bustling with life in 14th century Baghdad, has expanded its selection of offerings by inviting artisans from around the Arabian world to set up permanent shops.
On November 5th 2014, a varied group of enthusiasts were given a tour of the Khan Murjan Souk to celebrate its journey to becoming a focal point for authentic craftsmen from all corners of the Arab world. The day’s festivities included lunch at the famous Khan Murjan restaurant in the central courtyard.
The original 14th century Khan Murjan Souk in Baghdad offered inns and places of rest to travellers and traders, while also serving as a haven for artisans. Wafi Mall’s iteration remains true to that vision, gathering craftsmen from across the Arab world to showcase traditional skills that have been all but lost to history.
A highlight of Khan Murjan Souk in Wafi Mall is its celebration of authentic artisanal skills. The Souk’s construction brought together traditional craftsmen from Turkey, Egypt, Syria and Morocco.
Every single element, carving and pattern populating the Souk was created by hand using traditional methods and authentic designs, with finished pieces being shipped over and assembled into a cohesive whole.
And now, Khan Murjan Souk continues its homage to traditional skills, playing a role in keeping alive centuries old vocations by offering them a home in its subterranean expanses.
“Khan Murjan was developed with a deep respect and enduring passion for the historical, architectural and artistic identity of the Arabian world, where many traditional craftsmen have been bought out of retirement to produce genuine designs. We are continuing in that direction by creating an engaging showcase of artisanal skills from across the current Arab world,” said Dr. Akram Salah, Partner, Khan Murjan Souk in Wafi Mall.
Like the venerable original, Khan Murjan Souk in Wafi Mall too bustles with craftsmen creating and selling their wares. Visitors get a chance to see weavers creating Persian carpets, blowing intricate glasswork and preparing traditional meals for passers-by to taste. Wood weavers, tent carvers and copper makers populate the halls while basket weavers and calligraphists ply their trade in the passageways. Tanoura dancers add age-old mystique to the rhythm of traditional drummers, and henna artists decorate palms with intricate patterns passed on through centuries.
Guests on the artisanal tour enjoyed a festive lunch at the famous Khan Murjan restaurant, where Middle Eastern cuisine is prepared fresh in the central courtyard. Freshly baked breads accompanied tender meat grilling on charcoal beds, with the tinkling of a water wheel paying homage to ancient methods of water collection.