Ottomania is an established and large retailer of Turkish carpets in Istanbul. They have thousands of carpets from all over Turkey including new and antique. I spent literally hours with one of the owners, Ziya Demir, as he educated me about the range of carpets available and the different qualities. I visited the store a number of times and was treated to warm hospitality on each occasion including a wonderful dinner on their rooftop deck overlooking the sea and the Blue Mosque. This had the added value of fascinating conversations about life in Turkey. Ziya provided with me a lot of information but did not pressure me. Like so many vendors I met in Turkey, Ziya was not only proud of his business but also wished to demonstrate the best of his wonderful country through his integrity and his friendship. He was genuinely interested in inter cultural conversations. We formed a friendship that would have continued whether or not I purchased a carpet. I selected a tribal carpet which arrived as promised and I am thrilled to have it in my home. However, it has an added value because of my memories of Ziya and his colleague David and their warm hospitality. If you are looking at carpets in Istanbul do visit Ottomania in Sultanahmet at Tavukhane Sokaf No:17.
What to buy: There are so many varieties of carpets made in Turkey. I particularly like the old carpets made as dowery carpets or as camel covers which are no longer made given the major social changes in Turkey. They combine kilim, knotted and embroidery techniques and the natural dyes have aged beautifully. These carpets range fro $1000 to $10000. The most expensive carpets are 100% silk and are stunningly beautiful but very expensive. I also loved the carpets that contained a lot of hand embroidery because of their uniqueness and value for money.
What to pay: You can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $50000 or $60000 depending on quality. There are many lovely carpets for very reasonable prices.
Named as "Avrupa Pasajı" and also as "Aynalı Pasaj" (AYNA means mirror in Turkish), the reason is that there are ancient mirrors hanged as seperation on walls between all the shops ...
Chances are that you’ve found the Grand Bazaar intersting and the bargaining experience a little tough. So, join the crowd and give a try to Avrupa Pasajı, too ... :)
Most of the artifacts and gift items that you thought are only sold at the bazaar can be found here at more reasonable prices and without the hassle. If you’re looking for antiques, you’ll find valuable pieces here as well.
In addition, this wonderfully ornate arcade also appeals to anyone who is looking for the European influence on architecture in Istanbul. The arcade was first built to be a theater, which later burned down and so the arcade got converted to a "so called" mall. Especially the beautiful sculptures of females representing various professions on the second floor of this arcade are must to be seen.
As its located next to the famous "Cicek Pasajı", u can have your lunch or dinner just as going out of arcade direct in the heart of the Cicek Pasajı ... :)
What to buy: Local gift items, silver rings, earrings, carpets in several sizes (even they ship abroad if you request), kilims, handcrafted pillow covers and so on ...
Be very careful shopping here as the police have investigated this shop due to complaints by tourists. The products they sell are OK but just be careful. Do not associate with the salesmen or owners. They are not to be trusted. Had to get the police involved as they fraudulently charged my credit card. Love Istanbul and there are a lot of great carpet and kilim shops. Just stay away from this one.
We were invited (read: lured) to Turga on our way to check out the Arasta Bazaar by a very nice and friendly man, Mehmet. I think I'll save the details for a travelogue. But rest assured if you want to ensure that what you are spending big bucks for are high quality, hand-crafted Turkish rugs then do yourself a favor and at least stop in and talk to Yusef Hurma, the president and owner of Turga. He will explain, over a never-ending service of hot tea, the differences in carpet construction materials, regional variations, historical significance, etc. And unless you're already well-versed in Turkish rug variations, you are likely to see many types of designs that you don't see in shops in the U.S. He definitely understands and caters to customers who don't want to see or purchase the same type of rugs one can get at home, although he has rugs along the more familiar designs as well.
Yusef gave us a great deal on three carpets and threw in free shipping because he routinely ships in bulk to the U.S. He speaks perfect English and makes a trip to the U.S. once or twice a year to meet privately with past clients and potential new ones that his current clients refer to him.
Buyer's Confidence: There were a couple of times within the Grand Bazaar in speaking with shopkeepers that our carpet purchases became a topic of conversation. When asked where we bought them from and what we paid, the shopkeepers in each case nodded their heads and agreed that Yusef only deals with high quality goods and that we had paid a more than fair price. Can't beat that!
What to buy: High quality Turkish carpets and kilims
What to pay: Varies but be sure to bargain hard!
SAKURA CARPETS AND KILIMS
A good selection and the staff were friendly and not too pushy. Better than the Grand Bazaar where the sellers gave me a headache.
The carpets all seemed good quality too and I kinda wished I'd brought a bit more spending money me. I spoke to Selcuk and Osman (Danny Asman) who were very helpful.
It is conveniently in Taksim Talimhane near the Lamartin hotel and 5 min walk from Taksim square.
I also bought a few small bits of pottery there (coasters) which were pretty and made good cheap presents for the family.
What to pay: Kilims and carpets from 100 dollars, but expect to pay about 500 for a good sized living room rug. The coasters were a dollar or less from what I remember and there were some nice vases/plates there too but I am not sure on the prices.
Try to find the nuruosmaniye door of the grand bazaar
on the way to the entrance you can find many reputable carpet shops
all you need is to ask the certificate and this shops are able to
provide a certificate for the carpets
Any carpet shop near the Arasta Bazaar will have someone standing outside to lure you in with an offer of tea or even wine. If you aren't interested don't be afraid to politely turn them down. On the other hand if you are interested in learning more about carpets before actually buying one do take them up on the tea and you will be regailed with more information than you thought possible. They will take out every carpet in the store and lay them before you and tell you what it is made of, how many knots per square inch, etc. If you express a liking for any they will remember which ones and pull them back out later. Do not feel pressured into buying if you don't want to. This is their job and they are happy to do it since there are many carpet shops and the competition is high. The stores all seem to know one another since after I had made a selection and actually bought a carpet, they all seemed to know about it and I wasn't bothered again.
What to pay: Bargain bargain bargain. I was advised to offer half of the price they originally ask and work from there. I bought a lovely wool/cotton living room sized carpet for 900.00 U.S. and I know the same carpet would cost $3,000.-$4,000. at home.
The most important tip I cold give is to take your time. There are so many carpets and shops, that you should look around before you buy. It is worth to talk to the sellers, and compare what they tell you about the types of carpets etc.
It is difficult to say what a good price would be - rather decide what the specific carpet is worth for you, and what you would pay for such a carpet.
I could have put this tip under Tourist Trap because in a way it was..... we were all ushered by our travel guide in this room for a "carpet show".... First though there was a whole ceremony with tea serving and drinking..... Then the carpets were rolled out , one after the other and praised to the heavens for their beauty and quality...... While one after the other of my group members sneeked away not so to be brainwashed and talked into buying a not at all needed carpet , I stayed on , really fascinated by their beauty .....And soon enough the vendors or salespeople spotted me as a possible "victim" and started to work on me.... but they didn't have to talk me into buying very much because I had decided allready that I would buy one and I knew exactly which..... Nevertheless they "got me" by talking me into buying two offering a big discount and free shipping whereever.... I hesitately went for two, paid U$ 1,000 and told them my adress in Sao Paulo..... The second U$ 1,000 were to be paid upon arrival of the merchandise which happened like 6 weeks later.... The last photo shows me happy and exhausted after all the bargaining... Touristtrappy but I didn't feel cheated , the decision was mine after all and I love my carpets which are my joy and pride untill today.... I think one psychological factor to buy was that I told myself the whole trip was so incredibly cheap anyway, so why not buy one of these beauties.....?
What to buy: Carpets....... I'm sorry not to be able to say what kind of carpets these were and from where they came but for me it was like a once in a lifetime experience.... I got certificates of course but I have no idea where they are.....
What to pay: This depends solely on your bargaining skills and also on the amount of units....
One carpet costs more than half of the amount for two.........
Mine are beautifully mild colored , about 2,5 m x 4,5 m and I paid U$1,000 each....
This is a bit different from the dozens of carpet shops that you see in the Grand Bazaar.
It is located amidst a small group of other shops selling other local crafts.
Ask for Hasan Kaya and tell him his mad friends from Malaysia sent you. Maybe he wont skin you as much as he normally would; but then again, maybe he might.
Shopping in these sorts of places is a bit like Russian Roulette but its a hell of a lot of fun and really interesting.
He doesn't have any silk carpets (which is another thing altogether) but he has a range of what appeared to be genuine local carpets from the arts and craft area east of Istanbul.
Maybe it's best to go east of Istanbul and see for yourself but i've forgotten the name of the area and the cost of going there (if you have time) may outway the benefits of buying in Istanbul.
Anyway, this guy made us so comfortable (with the inevitable dozen glasses of Turkish tea) that we bought from him and arranged a small import deal for our shop in Seremban.
Time will tell.
You will excuse my scepticism if you've travelled through Asia.
What to buy: Turkish carpets are reputed to be as good or better than the more famous "Persian" (Iranian) carpets.
My personal opinion is that if you want just a small an inexpensive momento of your visit to Turkey, shop around for a few hours and try to buy a genuine hand made Turkish carpet from the eastern states.
If you have the money to indulge a few thousand Lira or US$, you should buy silk carpets of no less than 20 knots per square cm.
What to pay: Factory carpets for US$30, hand made for over US$150 or 20 grade silk carpets for over US$1,500.
We bought a hand made carpet 750cm by 1050cm for US$75 after starting at US$120.
After the deal was struck he gave us a ceramic egg as a parting gife and 3 more glasses of Turkish tea.
As with a lot of countries in this part of the world, Carpets are a good buy, the quality does vary quite considerably so choose cafefully as a general rule of thumb the more stiches per square inch the better the quality, look around a few different shops to get an idea of availablity , ask for their price on a good quality and a poor quality , then set yourself a budget
Turkish Carpets are well known carpets in the world because of their quality.
You will find good capret stores in the Grand bazaar and on other places.
If you want to buy a carpet be prepared for a long sit and watch for many carpets until you will find the one that you like.
The sellers will be happy to answer your questions and explain about the carpets.
What to buy: Carpets
What to pay: The carpets can be small or very big , very old or new ones.
I should say that I had visited the ER & NE & MET carpet shop dring my previous visit to Istanbul back in April 2002.
So, the info I am giving could be a bit outdated. However, the fact that they still have their web-site gives me hopes that what I have to say about this place might still be valid :)
Probably you are wondering how did I get there on first place. Well, me and a friend of mine - American boy were walking around Sultanahmet area and we wanted to see the Blue Mosque.
When we were about to enter the yard a young boy approached us and offered us something like a guided tur for free. The only thing we had to do is to go to his shop afterwards, no obligation to buy - just to look around :)))
We went to the shop with the intention only to look around but after drinking a couple of glasses of apple tea and stearing at endless number of carpets and rugs my friend finally bought one.
I should say the service was really good and they were treating us extreemly nice even though we made it clear we can not afford to spend too much. The guy who showed us around the Blue Mosque even took us out for dinner :)
What to buy: ER & NE & MET are specialised in seling rugs, carpets and kilims, both old and new.
There is an impressive variety of carpets from different regions but I think mostly from Anatolia. As far as remeber it was a family run business and their origin was from Anatolia although I am not quite sure because it was a long time ago.
I do not have a picture from the shop, so I borrowed one from their site. It really looked like that :)
What to pay: Well, I think the price is highly negotiable and it depend on the quality and the size.
The god new is that they offer free delivery with international courriers all over the world in a week or 10 days.
What actually convinced my friend to buy the rug was the fact that he could pay with is credit card. The accept all well-known credit cards.
AVOID shopping for carpets in Istanbul, Izmir, Bergama, Ephesus, Ankara, or any other main tourist area!
Go to the SOURCE... smaller towns off the beaten path, where shopkeepers are truly friendly, give you an excellent price because they aren't used to tourists, and BARGAIN with them.
NOTE: GO TO the more expensive shops and get them to explain all about carpets BEFORE you go to buy one in the small locations(example, the state-run shop in Istanbul). That way, you can get a great carpet at a great price, and make a small-town shopkeeper very happy, because they tend to be the best ones you will meet in Turkey! :)
AVOID any person who advertises their shop on here... chances are it is a tourist trap, and they will jack the prices up. If you are paying $500 for a wool-on-wool, 4x7 carpet that is not very detailed, you are PAYING TOO MUCH! Use $300 as a gauge for those kinds of carpet, which is about 390 YTL now.
What to buy: Go to the state-run carpet shop for information only.
What to pay: $300 minimum.
Everywhere in the tourist areas of Istanbul are people who are on a neverending quest to get people to enter their carpet shops. Many people do come here to buy carpets, and that is fine. However, it can get a bit annoying to have people constantly try to get you to shop for carpets when you are focusing on sightseeing. It gets to the point where you have to totally ignore them. "Them" refers to people who will probably first ask you where you are from. it starts as a polite conversation and ultimately leads to a sales pitch. The best thing to do is not make eye contact or simply say "No, Thanks" and move on. With that said, there are good carpets to be bought. Simply, there is the right time and the right place. Be advised that purchasing carpets requires a bit of research. One must learn the types of carpets and kilims, how to spot a good handmade one, and what type of price to expect to pay. We did buy a small one while we were there and hopefully got a good deal on it. Turkish rugs are certainly a work of art. you might want to start with the state-run shop between the Blue Mosque and Haghia Sophia to get an idea of what to expect with carpets. Bargaining prices should fetch somewhat of a lower price than the state-run shop. There are probably a lot of other tips that can best describe exactly what to look for much more eloquently than I can. Happy hunting!
What to buy: Survey says:
Carpets. The number one answer.
What to pay: It varies widely. Bargaining is essential.