Damascus: Silk and Cotton Manufacturers

Date: c. 1807

Spanish traveler Domingo Francisco Jorge Badía y Leblich (d. 1818), better known by his pseudonym Ali Bey al Abbasi, notes the abundance of warehouses in Damascus, containinf immense stores of cotton and silk textiles. These warehouses contained many fine cloths from India and Persia, but the largest amount of fabrics were manufactured locally. There are several streets of warehouses filled with textiles from one end to the other. Ali Bey estimates that there were more than 4,000 manufacturers of silk and cotton goods in Damascus. The primacy of silk manufacturing is linked to the high demand from Turkey, Arabia, Egypt, and Africa. Some of the silk manufactured in Damascus was harvested from neighboring areas, and was of excellent quality. Cotton was imported as none was cultivated around Damascus. See also: Silk Weaver; Cotton Weaver; Dyer and Printer of Textiles.

Citation: al-Abbasi, Ali Bey. Travels of Ali Bey in Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and Turkey. Between the Year 1803 and 1807 (Philadelphia: Printed for John Conrad, at the Shakespeare building, by James Maxwell, 1816. After London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1816), II, p. 306.