Turkish Carpets (Turkish Rugs)
No trip to Turkey would be complete without a serious carpet encounter; in fact, many in-bound travelers proclaim the purchase of a Turkish carpet to be number one on their shopping list. What they may not realize before arrival is that these are not trivial souvenir purchases - in fact one of these little indulgences may well consume the whole shopping budget.
Throughout the country, you will see for sale carpets of every size, design and color scheme in stalls, street-side shops and elegant showrooms, but I recommend restraint until a little homework is done. The final choice will be all the more satisfying, as you minutely scrutinize each magic carpet rolled out at your feet with the newly acquired eye and finger tips of an aspiring rug merchant.
Visiting a carpet cooperative is an excellent way to appreciate the expertise involved in producing these creations and to learn something of their deep cultural and historical connection within the Middle East. Of course, this will require a tour of the work areas, acceptance of the ritual glass of steaming black tea or apple tea, and some time in the show room with carpets of every size unfurled before you until you are ankle deep in samples of every size and color. Co-ops may not have the best deals, but reliability is high, variety is guaranteed, and purchases may be shipped home.
The price of a Turkish rug or carpet depends on several factors. The quality of a Turkish rug depends partly on the number of knots per sq cm, with more knots signifying a higher price. Other price determining factors of Turkish rugs are age and demand; usually the older a Turkish carpet is the more demand there will be for it by Oriental carpet buyers. The material used in the most expensive Turkish rugs is silk and even a small Turkish carpet will cost thousands of dollars to buy if its pure silk.
Lastly the condition of the Turkish rug is also important as there should be no tears or holes in the Turkish carpet. If a Turkish rug has been repaired expertly, it is often difficult to tell the repair work from the original rug.