Basra’s carpententry industry survives into the 21st century

BASRA, July 26 — Al-Hawir district in northern Basra is renowned for its carpenters and blacksmiths. The city is home to 600 workshops specializing in both wood- and metal-work.

Abu Ali Al-Hajjaj, the owner of a carpentry workshop told 964:

“We produce the finest types of wooden windows, doors, bedroom furniture, cabinets, and all household essentials.”

Woodworking in Al-Hawir began in the early 20th century with the production of mashahif, the long boats seen in the area’s waterways. Carpenters then began making furniture in the 1970s.

Doors, windows, and other types of furniture flourished in the 1980s with the introduction of modern machinery and Al-Hawir started selling its products in nearby cities.

In the 1990s, despite the scarcity of raw materials due to economic sanctions, Al-Hawi’s wooden furniture reached as far as Mosul.

“Our production is continuously evolving, but since 2003, we have been lacking government support, and fluctuations in the exchange rate have significantly affected our work,” Al-Hajjaj said.