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Leather Souvenirs Popular With Pilgrims
People, Travel

Leather Souvenirs Popular With Pilgrims

Iranian leather handicraft proved very popular with pilgrims visiting Mashhad from the Persian Gulf Arab countries.  The leather was displayed at a special pilgrimage handicrafts exhibition, which kicked off in Mashhad on Saturday, the handcrafts export development director, Pouya Mahmoudian, told Mehr news agency.
Organized by Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), the two-day exhibition was the first of its kind to promote the contribution of handicraft as souvenirs for pilgrims.  This marks a further effort by the organization to expand the souvenir market.
The dominance of Chinese goods in the souvenir market of pilgrimage cities motivated officials to organize the exhibition, she said, “taking into consideration the taste of Arabs and Iranian pilgrims in ornaments.”
Prior to organizing the event, a team of experts conducted a field study in all provinces for eight months to decide which artifacts could be put forward for sale in the exhibition, said Mahmoudian, adding the selection was based on two criteria: “Good quality and affordable price”, and able to cater to customers with different budgets.
The research involved completion of questionnaires, and asking retailers th opinion on which items they believe would be popular with Mashhad pilgrims.
Souvenirs most popular with pilgrims have traditionally included prayer paraphernalia such as ‘Mohr’ (the small piece of compacted clay or soil used during the Shi’i daily prayers), and the Tasbih  (a string of beads similar to ‘worry beads’), or foods and spices like barberries and saffron.
A list of 500 items were selected including leatherwork, prayer rugs, wooden Qur’an stands, jewelry such as agate and turquoise rings, and tiles with verses from the Qur’anic such as “Va En Yakad”.
Similar exhibitions are going to be held in Qom, and Najaf and Karbala of Iraq.

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