Iran on Tuesday unveiled what it said was the world's largest handwoven carpet, worth 5.8 million dollars and larger than a football pitch, to be laid out in a United Arab Emirates mosque.
The carpet, adorned with green and cream colours, was made in 18 months from 38 tonnes of wool and cotton by 1,200 weavers in three villages in northeastern Iran, said the head of Iran's state carpet company, Jalaleddin Bassam.
It is to be spread out in the mosque in UAE capital Abu Dhabi that bears the name of UAE president and founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan.
The carpet, measuring 5,625 square metres (60,546 square feet), was made up of nine pieces which will be stitched together in the UAE to cover the floor of the central praying area of the massive mosque.
There are 2.2 billion knots in the carpet, which was made with the best wool from the southern Iranian town of Sirjan and from New Zealand in 25 colours using 20 different natural dyes, Bassam said.
The dominantly green and cream carpet bears the classic Persian motifs of scrolling vine networks and five medallions-symmetrical centre pieces-which alone measure seven metres (23 feet) to 20 metres (66 feet) wide.
It was rolled out for the first time in Tehran's vast open air prayer ground, the Mosalla, where photographers had to board helicopters for a full view and onlookers appeared as matchsticks on the immensity of the carpet.
Several trucks were needed to take the carpet for the showing in Tehran while it will go to the United Arab Emirates by air in two separate planeloads.