Iran Rolls Out the Really Big Carpet

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

Iran unveiled what it said was the world's largest carpet on Tuesday, in a ceremony marking its completion at the Imam Khomeini Mosalla prayer grounds in Tehran.

The carpet named 'Qasr al-Alam' or "The Palace of the World" measures over 60,000 square feet. It was ordered for the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan mosque in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

Around 1000 Iranian weavers used some 34 tons of wool and 17 tons of cotton. Fifty weaving experts supervised the work across three large workshops. It took artists eight months to design the carpet and two years for weavers to make the 2.2 billion-knot masterpiece.

The carpet is not only noted for its size, but for its trapezoid shape containing one concave and one convex side. After the unveiling ceremony in Tehran, the carpet will be taken to United Arab Emirates (UAE) to be laid in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan Mosque.

On Tuesday several representatives from UAE were given a guided tour across the carpet by Masoud Mir-Kazemi, Iran's Commerce Minister.

"This carpet is about 64,583 square feet and is woven for a mosque in Abu-Dhabi," Mir-Kazemi told reporters during the tour. "This is a very big and valuable artistic masterpiece that is priceless. This magnificent carpet has been woven by men and women from the rural areas of Neyshabour city (northeast of Iran)," he said.

Ambassadors and envoys of Islamic countries to Iran are said to have visited the weavers as they were working on the carpet, Iran Television reported.

Iran's Carpet Company later decided to organize public tours to further promote the Persian art of carpet weaving, which dates back 2,500 years ago and is among Iran's top non-oil, export-bound products.

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