Millions of visitors come to and fall in love with Istanbul every year. Many of them are amazed by the beautiful handmade rugs and carpets they see all around this amazing city These amazing handmade goodies are very exquisite but it can be hard to understand their value and originality. So, istanbul.com has done the research for you. In this article, you will find all the answers to your questions if any you have about traditional Turkish rugs and carpets.
Anatolian rugs, often associated with the historical region of Anatolia, have a rich and diverse history that reflects the cultural tapestry of the area. These exquisite knotted, pile-woven floor and wall coverings have been crafted for centuries, embodying the heritage of the Ottoman Empire's influence and the region's ethnic and cultural diversity. These rugs, often accompanied by flat-woven kilims, are integral to Turkey's cultural identity. Handmade Turkish rug making is not only a craft but an art itself.
The art of Anatolian rug weaving dates back to prehistoric times, with traces of Byzantine, Turkic, Armenian, Caucasian, and Kurdish design elements woven into their intricate patterns. The arrival of Islam further shaped their motifs. Today, Anatolian rugs are known for their distinctive dyes, colors, motifs, and techniques, ranging in size from small pillows to room-sized carpets. While some early examples date back to the 13th century, these rugs have been produced across various social groups, predominantly using sheep wool, cotton, and natural dyes.
In Europe, Anatolian rugs found their way into Renaissance paintings, symbolizing prestige and luxury. However, the Western world's interest in these rugs has evolved beyond art to encompass historical and scientific curiosity. The 19th century introduced synthetic dyes and mass production, threatening the tradition. Fortunately, many initiatives have revived Anatolian rug weaving, preserving its ancient techniques and designs for future generations.
What is a Turkish Rug?
A Turkish rug, also known as an Anatolian rug, is a type of traditional handwoven textile that originates from the region of Anatolia in modern-day Turkey. These rugs are renowned for their intricate designs, vibrant colors, and exceptional craftsmanship. Here are some key characteristics and aspects of Turkish rugs:
Handwoven Craftsmanship: Turkish rugs are meticulously handwoven by skilled artisans, often using traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations. This labor-intensive process involves tying individual knots to create the rug's pile, resulting in a durable and long-lasting textile.
Diverse Designs: Turkish rugs feature a wide variety of designs and motifs. These motifs can include geometric patterns, floral motifs, animal figures, and even symbolic representations. Each design often reflects the cultural and historical influences of the region where the rug was made.
Rich Color Palette: Turkish rugs are known for their vibrant and rich color palettes. They often feature bold and contrasting colors, which can range from deep reds and blues to earthy tones like browns and greens. Natural dyes were traditionally used to achieve these colors. Want to have a red Turkish rug? Or an amazing green Turkish rug? Just check for the amazing colors, you will definitely find some colors for your taste.
Different Regions, Different Styles: Turkey is a diverse country with various regions, and each region has its own distinct style of rug weaving. For example, rugs from cities like Hereke, Usak (Oushak), and Kayseri have their unique designs and characteristics. Some regions are known for their traditional nomadic or tribal rugs, while others produce more formal, urban-style rugs. The different kinds of rugs & carpets will be explained in detail in this article, just keep reading.
Materials: Traditional Turkish rugs are typically made from wool, which is a readily available and durable material. Silk rugs are also produced, often with intricate silk highlights. Cotton is used for the foundation of the rug, and natural dyes from plants and insects were historically used to achieve the colors.
Knotting Techniques: Turkish rugs are known for their knotting techniques. The most common knot used in Turkish rug weaving is the symmetrical or Turkish knot, also known as the Ghiordes knot. This knotting method contributes to the rug's unique texture and durability.
Symbolism and Stories: Many Turkish rug motifs and designs have symbolic meanings or tell stories. These stories can relate to historical events, cultural beliefs, or the weaver's personal experiences. Each rug may carry a narrative that adds depth and significance to its design.
Collector's Items: Vintage Turkish rugs are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts worldwide. Antique and vintage Turkish rugs, especially those with unique designs or historical significance, can command high prices in the art and antique market.
Practical and Decorative: While Turkish rugs have artistic and cultural value, they are also functional as floor coverings or decorative wall hangings. They add warmth, color, and character to homes and spaces.
A Turkish rug is a handwoven textile with a rich history, diverse designs, and exceptional craftsmanship. These rugs are not only functional but also works of art that reflect the cultural heritage and creativity of the people of Anatolia. Have a small Turkis rug or large Turkish rug; a round Turkish rug or square-shaped pink Turkish rug; you can find something to your taste.
Types of Turkish Rugs
Turkish rugs encompass a wide variety of styles, designs, and techniques, each originating from different regions within Turkey. Here are some of the most well-known types of Turkish rugs:
Turkish kilim rugs are flat-woven rugs that are known for their intricate geometric patterns and vibrant colors. They are traditionally made by interweaving different colored weft threads into a warp to create the design. Kilims are often used as floor coverings, wall hangings, or even as prayer rugs.
Usak (Oushak) Rugs
Usak rugs, hailing from the town of Usak in western Turkey, are known for their soft pastel colors and large-scale floral or medallion designs. They are highly regarded for their artistic and elegant appearance.
Hereke rugs are famous for their exceptional quality and fine craftsmanship. They originated in the town of Hereke, near Istanbul, and often feature intricate patterns with silk highlights. These rugs were originally produced for Ottoman palaces.
Kayseri, located in central Turkey, is known for producing high-quality Turkish rugs with intricate designs. They often feature a central medallion surrounded by floral motifs. Kayseri rugs are valued for their fine craftsmanship and durability.
Antalya rugs are produced in the southern coastal region of Turkey. They are characterized by their bold colors, floral patterns, and distinctive design elements that reflect the region's Mediterranean influences.
Bergama, a town in western Turkey, produces rugs known for their tribal and nomadic designs. These rugs often feature geometric patterns and bold colors. They are highly collectible for their authenticity and historical significance.
Konya, located in central Turkey, has a long history of rug weaving. Konya rugs often feature bold and striking geometric patterns with bright reds, blues, and whites. They are known for their durability and traditional designs.
The term "Anatolian rugs" is a broad category encompassing rugs from various regions within Anatolia (modern-day Turkey). These rugs can vary widely in design, color, and style, reflecting the diversity of Anatolian culture. It may be counted as the combination of a variety of rug styles, colors, and design patterns.
Prayer rugs are a specific type of Turkish rug designed for use during Islamic prayer. They often feature a mihrab (prayer niche) design at one end, which indicates the direction of Mecca. Prayer rugs can come from various regions in Turkey and feature different designs.
Yastik rugs are small Turkish rugs, typically used as cushions or pillow covers. They often feature intricate geometric patterns and are prized for their portability and decorative value.
Ghiordes is a town in Turkey known for its rug production. Ghiordes rugs are often woven using the Ghiordes knot, a type of symmetrical knotting technique. These rugs can feature a variety of designs and colors.
Mudjur rugs are known for their distinctive prayer rug designs, featuring a mihrab and a decorative border. They are often produced in the town of Mudjur (Mucur) in central Turkey.
These are just a few examples of the many types of Turkish rugs, each with its own unique characteristics and regional influences. Turkish rugs are highly prized for their beauty, craftsmanship, and cultural significance.
Where to Find Authentic Turkish Carpets & Rugs?
You can find Turkish rugs and carpets in various places in Turkey, especially in cities with a rich tradition of carpet weaving. Here are some of the best places to buy Turkish rugs and carpets:
Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is one of the most famous and historic marketplaces in the world. It's home to numerous carpet shops where you can find a wide range of Turkish rugs and carpets. While shopping here, be prepared to haggle, as it's part of the buying experience.
Sultanahmet District in Istanbul
This district is close to major historical sites like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. It's also known for its carpet shops, making it a convenient place to shop for rugs and carpets while exploring Istanbul's cultural treasures.
Local Workshops in Small Towns
For a more authentic experience, consider visiting local carpet workshops and villages known for their carpet production. You can often purchase rugs directly from the artisans, and this approach may provide a deeper appreciation of the craftsmanship involved.
In the digital age, you can also explore online marketplaces and websites that specialize in Turkish rugs and carpets. While it's essential to research the seller's reputation and product authenticity, this option allows you to browse a wide selection from the comfort of your home.
When buying Turkish rugs and carpets, it's important to consider factors like the rug's origin, quality, and design. Ask for information about the rug's materials, weaving techniques, and any historical or cultural significance. Additionally, don't hesitate to negotiate the price, as bargaining is common in Turkish markets.
Best Places to Buy Traditional Turkish Rugs and Carpets in Istanbul
There are many shops in and around Istanbul from which you can buy amazingly beautiful handmade rugs. Here are some of the carpet stores you can visit and buy quality carpets and rugs.
Nakkas Oriental Rugs
Nakkas Oriental Rugs, nestled in the heart of Istanbul near the Hippodrome, stands as a premier destination for carpet enthusiasts. This expansive shop boasts a staggering collection of thousands of carpets and rugs spanning multiple floors. What sets Nakkas apart is its unique offering—an underground museum housed in a 1500-year-old cistern beneath the shop. This museum is a testament to the rich history of chariot races that once graced the Hippodrome during the Roman and Byzantine periods. For those seeking not only exquisite carpets but also a glimpse into Istanbul's historical treasures, Nakkas Oriental Rugs provides a truly immersive experience.
Punto Carpet, situated on Nuruosmaniye Street, is a jewel among Istanbul's carpet shops, especially renowned in the past two decades. Located in close proximity to the Grand Bazaar, this establishment has earned a reputation for its extensive and diverse collection of carpets and rugs. Visitors often praise Punto for its high customer satisfaction rates. The shop's unassuming exterior, just off Kahve Dunyasi, a well-known local coffee chain, belies the treasure trove of carpets waiting to be discovered within.
Within the labyrinthine confines of the Grand Bazaar lies Sisko Osman, a name synonymous with carpet shopping among celebrities and connoisseurs. For decades, this establishment has catered to the rich and famous, including numerous Hollywood stars. Located in Zincirli Han, a historical courtyard within the Grand Bazaar's northeastern section, Sisko Osman has transitioned into the capable hands of the next generation. Despite its unpretentious setting, this shop retains its charm and continues to offer captivating stories alongside its collection of fine carpets.
Located in Takkeciler Sokak, a bustling street at the heart of the Grand Bazaar, Sengor Halı stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Turkish carpet craftsmanship. With roots stretching back over a century and spanning four generations, this venerable establishment exudes tradition and expertise. The current custodian, Semsettin Sengor, in his 90s, possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience, having been steeped in the art of carpet weaving from a young age. While unassuming at first glance, Sengor Halı boasts a substantial collection of carpets and rugs, each with its own captivating narrative.
For those with a penchant for contemporary design and modern aesthetics, Dhoku Rugs offers a refreshing departure from traditional carpet shops. Located on Takkeciler Street, akin to Sengor Halı, Dhoku Rugs seamlessly melds traditional carpet craftsmanship with a modern sensibility. Their rugs, characterized by geometric patterns and a clean design language, harmonize effortlessly with contemporary interior decor. If you find yourself drawn to contemporary artistry, Dhoku Rugs presents an enticing array of options for your consideration.
These distinguished carpet shops in Istanbul collectively provide a diverse range of options, catering to the varied tastes and preferences of carpet enthusiasts and discerning buyers. Whether you seek a deep dive into history, the allure of celebrity connections, or a fusion of tradition and modernity, Istanbul's carpet shops offer a tapestry of choices waiting to be explored.
Frequently Asked Question
Which empire became well known for carpet weaving and designer rugs?
The Ottoman Empire became renowned for its exceptional carpet weaving and designer rugs. During its heyday, particularly in the 14th and 15th centuries, Turkish carpets were highly sought-after and exported to Europe. Ottoman rugs adorned palaces, cathedrals, and the homes of nobility, gaining fame for their exquisite craftsmanship and intricate designs. This era marked the zenith of Turkish carpet artistry and solidified the Ottoman Empire's reputation as a center for carpet weaving.
What is significant about each Turkish rug?
Each Turkish rug carries its own significance, often tied to its unique design, motifs, and historical context. Traditional Turkish rugs, such as Anatolian or Ottoman rugs, are significant for their cultural richness and artistic expression. They often feature motifs inspired by nature, history, and regional influences. Nomadic Turkish rugs are valued for their practicality and vibrant colors, making them essential items for nomadic life. Classic Turkish rugs, with medallion emblems and intricate floral patterns, are significant for their association with the Ottoman Empire's grandeur. Hereke carpets, on the other hand, hold significance due to their exceptional quality and association with the Dolmabahce Palace. Modern Turkish rugs, a fusion of tradition and contemporary design, are significant for their ability to bridge the past and present, appealing to diverse tastes.
How can you tell if a Turkish rug is real?
Authenticating a Turkish rug requires a discerning eye and attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you determine if a Turkish rug is genuine:
Check the materials: Traditional Turkish rugs are typically handwoven from high-quality materials like wool, silk, or cotton. Look for natural fibers and irregularities in the weave, a hallmark of handcrafted rugs.
Examine the knots: Authentic Turkish rugs often use the Turkish or Ghiordes knot, which is asymmetrical. Count the knots per square inch to gauge the rug's quality and origin.
Inspect the colors: Traditional dyes made from natural sources yield rich, harmonious colors in Turkish rugs. Look for variations that suggest natural dyeing.
Study the motifs: Familiarize yourself with regional motifs and designs. Each area of Turkey has its own unique patterns and symbolism.
Seek certification: Reputable sellers may provide certificates of authenticity for their rugs. These certificates can offer assurance of a rug's origin and quality.
How to hang a Turkish rug on the wall?
Hanging a Turkish rug on the wall can transform it into a stunning piece of art. Here's a simple guide to help you achieve this:
Materials Needed: You'll need a rug hanger or a sturdy curtain rod, hooks or nails, and a measuring tape.
Measure and Prepare: Decide where you want to hang the rug and measure the wall space to ensure it fits. Mark the spots where you'll place hooks or nails.
Attach Hooks or Nails: Install hooks or nails securely into the wall at the marked spots. Ensure they can support the weight of the rug.
Hang the Rug: Gently fold the top edge of the rug over the rug hanger or curtain rod. Make sure it's evenly distributed along the width of the rug.
Secure and Adjust: Hang the rug on the hooks or curtain rod. Adjust it to ensure it's straight and centered.
Enjoy: Step back and admire your Turkish rug displayed as a beautiful wall hanging.
What makes Turkish rugs unique?
Turkish rugs are renowned for their unique combination of intricate designs, vibrant colors, and superb craftsmanship. Each Turkish rug often tells a story, with motifs and patterns that reflect the cultural and historical influences of the region where it was woven.
What are the main types of Turkish rugs?
Turkish rugs can be broadly categorized into several types, including Anatolian rugs, Nomadic rugs, Classic Ottoman rugs, and Hereke carpets. These categories represent different styles, motifs, and weaving techniques.
How do I choose the right Turkish rug for my space?
Selecting the right Turkish rug depends on your personal taste and the aesthetic of your space. Consider factors like the rug's size, color palette, and design motifs. Traditional rugs with geometric patterns are versatile, while classic Ottoman rugs with medallion designs add an elegant touch.
What is the significance of motifs in Turkish rugs?
Motifs in Turkish rugs carry deep cultural and historical meanings. For example, the "evil eye" motif is believed to protect against negative energy, while floral patterns symbolize growth and life. Understanding these motifs can enhance your appreciation of a Turkish rug's artistry.
Are Turkish rugs handwoven?
Yes, many Turkish rugs are handwoven, and this craftsmanship is highly regarded. Handwoven rugs are typically made from high-quality materials like wool, silk, or cotton and often feature unique designs and knots.
How can I maintain and clean my Turkish rug?
To maintain your Turkish rug, vacuum it regularly and rotate it to even out wear. Avoid placing heavy furniture on the rug for extended periods. For cleaning, it's best to consult a professional rug cleaner who specializes in delicate textiles to ensure the rug's longevity.
What is the historical significance of Turkish rugs?
Turkish rugs have a rich history that dates back centuries. They were not only functional but also served as symbols of prestige and cultural identity. They were often used as gifts, trade items, and even diplomatic offerings.
Can I hang a Turkish rug on the wall as art?
Yes, Turkish rugs can be hung on the wall as beautiful works of art. Properly hanging a rug involves using rug hangers, curtain rods, or other secure mounting methods to showcase its intricate design and craftsmanship.
How can I distinguish an authentic Turkish rug from a replica?
Authenticating a Turkish rug requires careful inspection. Look for natural materials, handwoven irregularities, asymmetrical knots, and traditional dyes. Reputable sellers may provide certificates of authenticity to confirm the rug's origin.
Where can I buy authentic Turkish rugs?
You can find authentic Turkish rugs in Istanbul's bazaars and reputable carpet shops. Additionally, many regions in Turkey, such as Cappadocia and Izmir, are known for their rug production and have local markets where you can purchase authentic rugs.