THE HANDS OF
Els Ports has long been a land with a rooted tradition in craftwork. The textile industry dates back several centuries and still today, some companies that continue producing various products by hand manage to survive. Throughout history, this region has produced high quality pieces, sold to various places, both nationally and internationally. Espardenyes (espadrilles), mantes (blankets), alforges (saddlebags) or faixes (sashes), which even today can be found in this area are the perfect example.
The textile industry led the fate of many people at Els Ports. In the early 20th century, the failure of the project on the arrival of the railway to the region made them less competitive and led to a serious and deep economic crisis. This led to the closure of factories, as Fàbrica Giner in Morella, and the exodus of many residents to other places, such as El Vallès in Catalonia, in search of job opportunities. Currently, you can visit the Fàbrica Giner and discover an industrial heritage of paramount importance in this area.
El Faixero, or the person who produces and transports sashes, is recognised as an official local profession in Cinctorres. El Faixero carried belts, sashes and blankets over his shoulders and walked the country to sell the craftwork made in Els Ports. At the entrance of Cinctorres, we can see a statue representing this profession as a tribute to those men who highlighted the paramount importance of this industry in Cinctorres. Furthermore, we can discover the process of making these products in the local museum of La Faixa.
The espardenyes, espadrilles, were the traditional footwear of Els Ports. Made from hemp in the soles and cloth at the top, with long cords to be tied at the ankle. It is still possible to find companies producing them in La Mata and people working in its elaboration on the streets of Todolella.
The blankets, or mantes, stand out for their brightness, warmth and quality. They consitute an element with plenty of tradition in the region and with a great history. Even today, you can discover the process of elaboration by visiting some shops in Morella and in some places like Herbers, there is an ethnological museum that explains this tradition.
It is extremely interesting to know how old looms, or telars, were. They are usesd in order to make blankets. Seeing the manufacturing process, one realises the enormous number of hours needed to produce one of these handmade products.