They are one of the most important traditional handicrafts in Serbia. In the late 19th century and up to the Second World War, Pirot kilims have been frequently used as insignia of Serbian royalty. This tradition was revived in 2011 when Pirot kilims were reintroduced for state ceremonies in Serbia.
Carpet weaving in Pirot dates back to the Middle Ages. One of the first mentions of the Pirot kilim in written sources date to 1565, when it was said that the šajkaši boats on the Danube and Drava were covered with Pirot kilims.