Damascus, SANA – Damascus is renowned to be the first city which gave birth to the art of glass blowing and the glass makers of Syria have a history as old as time.
Glass-making goes back to the Phoenician times and the Syrian glass makers have developed and preserved this traditional handicraft in the face of the industrial and technological development this industry is witnessing.
The Damascene products, including a great variety of flasks, lamps, vases and other objects in bright blue, gold, green and red colors, gained increasingly popularity in Europe till the 15th century.
“Glass is obtained by melting sand at 1500 degrees Celsius in a masonry (brick) oven, “ said Ahmed Nwailati, owner of glassmaking workshop in the handicrafts market in Damascus.
To those visitors who watch him and marvel at how he create such beautiful glass objects, Nwailati explains: “Nowadays, we use broken glass as the main raw material. The whole is put inside the oven for 24 hours to melt and form the initial glass paste. Then, a blow pipe is used to give glass the shape we desire, after which it is returned to the oven at a temperature of 600 degrees Celsius and taken out to cool down and reach its final hardness.”
In 1970s, glass manufacturing factories were mainly located in Bab Sharqi area and the total number of glassmaking workshops reached 17 in Damascus.
Despite the weak marketing, Nwailati stressed the importance of maintaining this handicraft as part of Damascus’ heritage and deep-rooted history.
R. Raslan/ Ghossoun