Egypt holds seventh annual festival to promote traditional crafts

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The seventh annual festival of traditional and heritage crafts was inaugurated under the auspices of the Egyptian ministry of culture's sector of fine arts on.

Egyptian heritage crafts were exhibited alongside demonstrations and workshops.
Potter Ahmed Yassin Abdel Khalek showed visitors his skill at the potter's wheel.

“All handicrafts have become scarce, so it's good to preserve these crafts by passing it on to other generations, that's a great thing,” said Adel Khalek.

The exhibition attracted tourists and residents alike to observe the fine detail and effort that goes into the making these handmade items.

American Madeleine Wada said,
“I really like these activities which promote Egyptian culture and it makes it really fun for foreigners to be here and really experience things about Egypt that you couldn't see anywhere else. I think it's beautiful and I really like it.”

Textiles, intricate woodcraft, handmade ceramics and copper items were all on display. With the technological advances of the modern age, some of the crafts have started to die out, but individual groups are trying to keep them alive.

Atef Abdel-Ghany from the Asala Association for tradition crafts, said,
“Traditional crafts had begun to become extinct, and their craftsmen had started to abandon their work to pursue other professions, until the president of our association, Ezz El Deen Nageeb, started in 1994, to get professional craftsmen to teach others to make new crafts, and for us to protect these traditions for the future generations.''

The annual festival encourages Egyptians to appreciate their rich craft and cultural heritage. However, Festival Supervisor, Nahed Rustum, said not all Egyptians were as appreciative of their rich history.

“I hope that every Egyptian will emulate this Chinese blogger, because, he felt that something valuable was vandalized by writing on an Egyptian artwork. I unfortunately see very strange things [done by Egyptians].''

She was referring to a recent incident in Luxor, when a 15-year-old Chinese tourist scratched his name into a 3,500-year-old temple, creating a furore in China and attracting criticism from Chinese bloggers.

The festival, which took place in an ancient complex at the heart of old Cairo’s Al-Azhar will be open until June 6.

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