Serbia » Srbija | 89 THEPIROTRUG - THESYMBOL OF A nation, a material testimony to Serbia’s rich tradition and folklore, colourful proof of our resilience, faith and spite - that sparkling spite within a Serb that compelshimto create andbelieveduring both the best and toughest of times. Original, authentic andunique - the Pirot rug is created in that unseen point where craft converts into art, so it becomes a product with soul that canhave practical or purely aesthetic applications. Weaving kilim rugs is a kind of art - a painstaking craft that requires the kind of skill that could MAR KO ( 30 ) AND K ATAR I NA ( 2 5 ) Young guardians of Pirot rugs Seven generations of the Jocić family have been collecting these little works of art that have spent decades patiently awaiting their crowning and embracing, recognition and celebration. Two young people have devoted their lives to the coming glory that awaits these rugs from Pirot only emerge in the most talented women, who would then pass that knowledge on to their female descendants fromgenerationtogeneration. This cultural heritage of Serbia still lives on. And even though we’ve allowed it to gather dust, enthusiastic individuals are stubbornly and successfully trying to restore that old splendour and glory. Among them are Marko Jocić (30) and his fiancée Katarina Isailović (25), who share a passion for preservingSerbiantraditionand rug weaving as a craft, and who note that they have one dream that they will never abandon - to ensure the Pirot rug gains the status it deserves. With that intention, and with wings of will, love and great knowledge, this couple works tirelessly to promote the Pirot rug in both traditional ways andnewones that are familiar tomodernmanand the technological age, i.e., through social networks. “Our job is linked to promoting the brand of the Pirot rug, both among our people and around the world. We are regular visitors and exhibitors at antique fairs in the country and abroad, while we collaborate actively with all eminent museums both in our country and around the region. Our great dream is for the Pirot rug to be officially protected and recognised as part of the UNESCO cultural heritage, because this treasure of ours deserves that,” say these young and talented people, beginning their story. Theywork to continue the family tradition, while their collection numbers over 100 original examples of these rugs that are not for sale, the oldest of which is a kilim rug with the pattern "Tree of Life with 12 nooks”. This is a prayer rug that represents the path to a new cosmos anda familyheirloom.Their choice to work with Pirot rugs was no coincidence – a total of seven generations of the Jocić family are engaged in collecting Pirot rugs. “Twograndmotherswereweavers (ćilimarka rugmakers)whoused their prowess to feed the family in some olden times that were slow-