Traditional Cretan weaving
Roka Carpets - a shrine to the art of traditional Cretan weaving in today’s modern world.
A real treasure trove can be found at Zambeliou 61 in the harbour area of Chania, home and shop of the handsome master weaver Mihalis Manousakis, an artisan who has not only mastered the art of weaving, but of living. Yours eyes will meet an explosion of colour, particularly shades of red. The rhythms of the old loom beat as Mihalis reproduces the beautiful intricate patterns from memory. The wool is coloured using natural dyes.
As a child, Mihalis was taught the loom by his mother and grandmother, both of whom knew thousands of patterns and he remains the only man in Crete to make a living at the loom. An expert at his craft he has orders from worldwide for his unique work. Mihalis started out as shepherd then went abroad to study but returned to Crete after the death of his father when he took over the family business of weaving. He was even commissioned to make ‘sakoulis’ – a kind of Greek backpack – which were given as gifts to VIPs at the 2002 Olympics.
Mihalis’ wife now also works the loom and the shop is a treasure trove of colour and textures, with piles of their intricate and beautiful work either displayed on the walls or stocked in piles ready to be sold. Visitors are often treated to stories of Mihalis’s profession, his wise words, and his simple views on life and visit to Roka will not easily be forgotten.
- Visit: all year
61 Zambeliou Street, Chania