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!
Address: Mimar Mehmetaga Caddesi 17
Directions: A couple of doors down on the left as you walk down Mimar Mehmetaga Caddesi away from the Blue Mosque and Torun Sokak.
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.
Address: Several shops in the town