Marsh Residents hold tight to their Reed Homes

Assadi said, “This area is still as it was thousands of years ago, and it is home to water, reeds and papyrus. People still hunt for fish in small boats.”

He spoke about the cultural role and status of these houses, saying, “Many of these guesthouses were built of reeds and papyrus plants. The people meet there to discuss political and tribal issues in the presence of prominent figures; social rituals and religious practices are also held there.”

Haider al-Salihi, an expert with 20 years of experience in the construction of reed houses, told Al-Monitor about the building method of such homes. “Reeds and bamboo are dry hollow sticks brought from swamps and marshes that are dried and cut to the desired measurement to be exported to consumers,” he said.

“Bamboo sticks are connected by ropes to form six firm columns in the ground, which are considered the basis of the structure. Long, bendable arms are made of these sticks to cover the ceiling and walls, which are connected with ropes. The structure is then covered with carpets made of papyrus plants or palm fronds to give the guesthouse its final shape.”

He added, “Roughly seven people take turns to build the guesthouse. They do not use any industrial machines, except knives to cut the reeds and ropes. But after the completion of the houses, they are furnished by their owners — if they are rich — with satellite dishes, internet, and heating and cooling appliances.”

Comments are closed.