Shopping for Turkish Carpets – Istanbul
A visit to a Turkish carpet centre is unavoidable on any organized tour to Turkey. We’ve been to a few carpet centres in the past, but nevertheless, we still find the experience interesting.
On arrival you are shown into a large showroom filled with rolls of carpet on the floor as well as carpets hanging on the walls around the room. Once everyone’s seated on the benches along the walls, raki or apple tea is offered. Be careful with the raki, or you might find yourself owning a carpet that you had no intention to buy.
Your host, the showroom manager does his introductory bit and proceeds to provide some explanation of the various types of carpet and the regions they come from. His floor assistants then unfurls various carpets and this is the fun bit to watch. The rate at which the carpets are rolled out or spun in the air before opening out on the floor is an entertaining performance. They do it so effortlessly, as if the carpets were weightless, but as anyone who has experience with carpets know, they are really quite heavy, especially the larger ones. You’ve got to give credit to these guys for putting on such a show with each group of visitors, especially when they know that only a few visitors will end up buying anything, if at all.
Carpet shops abound all over Istanbul and the variety and range of quality is so huge that it’s important to do some research prior to leaving home. Just because there is an abundance of carpets, does not necessarily mean that you’ll get it cheaper in Turkey. You might just get it cheaper back home, when the shops are having their eternal ‘closing down’ sales. However, if you’re serious or toying with the idea of getting a carpet, then make sure you know the dimensions of the room it’s intended for and the color scheme. One lady in our group was keen to buy one, but had no idea of the size of her room and couldn’t quite describe the color she wanted to match with, so she left empty-handed.