Iraqi laborers earn living from cutting building stones in sweltering heat

Iraqi laborers earn living from cutting building stones in sweltering heat

Though number of stoneworkers on the decline, some workers continue to engage in this craft, which requires skill to patiently cut and trim stones for buildings

By Hemin Othman

SULAYMANIYAH, Iraq (AA) – With hammers as their main tool, Iraqi laborers toiled from morning to night in the scorching summer heat of the city of Sulaymaniyah to earn their livelihood.

Stonework, which was once highly valued in the construction of houses and buildings, has fallen out of favor due to the increased use of industrial construction materials.

Though the number of stoneworkers is on the decline, some workers continue to engage in this craft, which requires the skill to patiently cut and trim stones for buildings with intricate patterns.

Lutfullah Ismail, a 59-year-old Iraqi stoneworker, told Anadolu that he began his profession at the age of 18 and has been doing it for 41 years.

“After excavating the soil covering the stones, we extract them. We send these stones all over the Kurdish region, from Halabja to Erbil,” he said.

Ismail pointed out that white stones hold higher value due to their beauty and are in great demand due to their rarity.

Eyub Muradhani, a 35-year-old stoneworker, is said to have been at it for 15 years and to work from morning until night, cutting and trimming stones.

Muradhani emphasized that they work on carving stones year-round, regardless of the season, because the stones they carve are used to build walls.

“This is a job demanding perseverance, and very few people can handle it. If the stone is highly detailed and ornate, a worker can craft seven to 12 stones a day, but if it's less detailed, this number can increase to 20 to 25 stones,” he added.


*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat​​​​​​​

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