Istanbul is considered the capital of carpet shops, and that means that a beautiful rug could be the ideal souvenir if you’re traveling to this remarkable country. You can find anything from antique rugs to brand new creations. There are countless shops to choose from in the Old City, but it’s not just a matter of finding the right pattern. If you’re serious about purchasing a Turkish carpet, there a few things you’ll want to be aware of.
Start by Shopping Around
Connoisseurs recommend that visitors to the city start by shopping around to see what’s available. Look through the Grand Bazaar and other vendors to see what patterns you like and find the colors that will match your home décor. Even if you think that you love the first rug you see, there might be something even more amazing at the shop next door. Use your smartphone to photograph the rugs you like, and note what shops they’re at and where the shops are located. This way, you can easily find the rug again when you’re ready to make a purchase.
Price Does Not Equal Quality
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a more costly rug is a better quality one. While antique rugs will carry a higher price tag, there are plenty of high-cost rugs of questionable quality and durability. On the other end of the spectrum, there are inferior rugs available for bargain basement prices. However, these will prove particularly disappointing when the weave comes undone or the rug twists out of shape.
Be prepared to bargain over a cup of tea at most shops. The shopkeepers will probably be extremely friendly and gracious, but that doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to make a purchase. It’s all part of the game, so be willing to walk away if the negotiations aren’t to your satisfaction.
What to Look For
When examining rugs in the different stores, ask some important questions. The best material to use for rugs is wool. However, there are some modern cotton and wool blends that are also high quality. Avoid synthetic fibers because they don’t last as long as wool, and they’re more likely to show stains. One way to tell the difference between a genuine, hand-made wool rug and a synthetic rug that came off a machine is to look at the color. The genuine rugs will have much more vibrant colors with a greater contrast between shades. The fringe should also be a brilliant white color. If it’s washed out or has beige tints, then you’re probably looking at synthetic fibers and a rug that was dyed after being woven.
When you’re planning your trip to Istanbul, consider staying at the Hotel Büyük Keban. Our recently remodeled facility is located in the old city, so it’s easy to walk to different carpet stores and see what’s available. We also have easy access to the transportation system if you want to look a little further and see what else is out on the market. Whether you’re coming to the city for business or pleasure, we can make your trip a little more enjoyable by providing you with easy access to some of the most important sights in the city as well as a wide range of vendors.