Lebanon’s rich cultural heritage is vividly reflected in its traditional crafts. These artisanal treasures, ranging from intricate textiles to ornate woodwork, not only showcase the country’s artistic legacy but also tell the story of its diverse history.
Here, we explore 12 quintessential Lebanese crafts, delving into their unique characteristics and revealing where these exquisite pieces can be found.
1. Cedar Wood Carving
The iconic Lebanese cedar, a national symbol, is masterfully carved into intricate designs. Find it in: The workshops of Becharre and the Kadisha Valley.
2. Pottery and Ceramics
Lebanese pottery, with its distinct glazes and patterns, is a testament to ancient craftsmanship. Find it in: The coastal town of Batroun and the village of Rashaya.
3. Blown Glass
The art of glassblowing in Lebanon, creating everything from delicate figurines to robust tableware. Find it in: The studios of Sarafand.
4. Textile Weaving
Traditional looms produce vibrant textiles, including the famous Lebanese silk. Find it in: The mountainous region of Bsharri.
Elaborate embroidery, often in gold and silver threads, adorns clothing and home textiles. Find it in: Artisan markets in Beirut.
6. Silver and Goldsmithing
Skilled artisans craft exquisite jewelry and ornamental pieces. Find it in: The jewelers of Tripoli and Tyre.
From handbags to traditional footwear, Lebanese leatherwork is renowned for its quality. Find it in: The souks of Sidon and Jounieh.
8. Mosaic Art
Stunning mosaics, reminiscent of Lebanon’s Roman and Byzantine past. Find it in: The historical towns of Baalbek and Byblos.
9. Hand-painted Tiles
These colorful tiles decorate homes and public spaces alike. Find it in: The workshops of Zouk Mikael.
10. Basket Weaving
Utilizing natural materials, these baskets are both functional and decorative. Find it in: The villages of Akkar and Chouf.
Arabic calligraphy, an art form in itself, is found on various mediums. Find it in: Cultural centers in Beirut.
The intricate art of wood inlay, creating detailed patterns and scenes. Find it in: The artisan shops of Aley and Zahle.
Where to find them
Most of these crafts can be found in specialized markets, local artisan shops, and cultural heritage centers throughout Lebanon. The vibrant souks of Beirut, Tripoli, and Sidon offer a plethora of these crafts, while specific towns and regions are known for their unique contributions to Lebanese artisanal heritage. Visiting these places not only supports local artisans but also provides an authentic glimpse into the heart of Lebanese culture.