Take a look around the wild, rugged almost uninhabited plateau near the top of Jebel Shams and you could be forgiven for thinking this the last place on earth to buy a carpet. But you'd be wrong! Rug-weaving here, produced on hand looms and respecting the distinctive local patterns, is a tradition that extends back centuries. With the increase in tourism, there is a current resurgence in this cottage industry, and you are bound to encounter a stall selling the earthy-toned rugs during your visit. In fact, you need only step from your vehicle and you’ll find carpet sellers appear from nowhere clutching piles of striped red-and-black goat-hair rugs; they seem so incongruous given the barren landscape that one suspects they've arrived on the back of the carpets they carry.
Weaving is a profitable local industry, but don’t expect a bargain. A large rug can cost anything from OR30 to OR80, depending on the colours used and the complexity of the pattern. Weaving is men’s work on Jebel Shams; spinning the wool is women’s work. If you can’t find room for a carpet, a spindle made from juniper wood makes a more portable souvenir. Failing that, buy a woollen key fob (OR1) from the army of children who come with colourful fistfuls of them wherever you find to camp.