Tag Archives: carpets

The Carpets of Konya

Kilim Runner from Van, Turkey

Come, Come, Whoever you Are Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vow a thousand times Come, yet again, come, come.

Mevlana Rumi, Sufi Mystic and Poet whose tomb lies in Konya

And they did come … at the turn of the last millennium, travellers, traders, nomads, empires, swept into Iran and Anatolia from Central Asia and beyond.

Konya is one place they met and traded and settled right from the 11th century through to the 16th century.  The Seljuk Empire that dominated a huge swath of Eurasia during those centuries created a cultural melting pot that extended from Turkey to China. It was out of that melting pot, fuelled by continual exchange of commodities and ideas along the Silk Roads, that Konya, Bergama and other well known cities came into prominence and …

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Nemrut Dağı and Antakya (ancient Antioch)

Antakya Mosaic

We drove to Nemrut Daği, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is probably the most common image everyone sees of Turkey. I have to say I found the “heads” a bit bizarre but could see why Antiochus I (69-34 BC) built this funerary mound where he did. Looking around, you are above the clouds and do feel on the top of the world.

Antakya (Antioch), different to everywhere else in Turkey in every which way, is only 60 miles from the Syrian border crossing and indeed once was part of Syria under French rule. It was a bit of a trudge from Nemrut Daği but I am glad we went. It is a happy buzzing town steeped in history. Established in 300 BC by one of Alexander the Great’s officers, the city became an important centre for religion. What is possibly the world’s earliest Christian church, the Cave Church of …

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Istanbul – Sightseeing and Carpets (of course)

Rüstem Pasha Mosque

Everyone clapped when we landed and I felt like joining in – I love Istanbul and it feels good to be back. The immigration officer rattled away to me in Turkish. I think he was commenting on the couple who were in front of me and had been sent off to get their visa but who knows. When I explained that I was Indian and did not understand he seemed truly surprised. So I have now been mistaken as Turkish, Uzbek, Iranian, Moroccan, Israeli, Spanish, Arabian. I’m beginning to feel like a true world citizen. 🙂

Giving myself the day off I went to see the fabulous Rüstem Pasha and Süleymaniye mosques. I will let the photographs speak for themselves. It was very cold and I am beginning to wonder why it is that I attract freak (always cold) weather wherever I go.

Carpet heaven! I spent the day with a wholesaler …

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Day 2: Shopping in Istanbul

Tree of Life

I had arranged to meet someone who was to introduce me to several vendors and we started at 9:00am little realising we would be on our feet till 9:00pm! A long but very fruitful day.

We started by meeting a master craftsman who is famous for making Sikke hats and has made the ones for the tomb of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi (‘c’ pronounced as ‘j’ in Turkey) in Konya. I discovered that feltmaking is actually quite difficult as it involves opening up the wool, laying it out with the end object in mind, applying just a touch of soapy water and then rolling it in reed mats. The end products are very impressive and I now have my eye on both Turkish and Kyrgyz felt for the Arastan collection.

We also met several carpet vendors. Turkey has always been a trading point between the East and the West and the …

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More Carpets Arrive…

Took delivery of a batch of 20 new carpets today (contemporary rugs in wool rather than tribal ones), a variety of sizes and stunning designs. Rather than describe them here I thought I’d let Tiya do her own sales job on them. (Not quite sure about her sense of smell though.)

P.S. Arastan is an ethical business and we do not employ child labour: she works for free!

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The First Carpet Sale!

Our concentration so far has been on the branding and sourcing, so marketing and sales are taking a back seat for the time being. However we did exhibit some items at the Overseas Women’s Club of Bangalore Christmas Bazaar in December, and made a few small sales there. Thanks to that publicity, and word of mouth, we already have a number of people interested in us, and recently made our first carpet sale!

A gorgeous Senneh kilim runner from Iranian Kurdistan will definitely be appreciated in its new home, although Nisha is going to have to learn not to be so sad to see her prized stock leave her! Luckily she still has plenty more, such as this peacock design, also a Senneh kilim but a very different style.

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  • Welcome to Arastan

    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

    You can read about the reasons for closure.

    You can still browse some of the products we used to have via the category links above, although none of these are available for purchase.

    Relive our travels and stories by browsing our articles and archives from the menus below.

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