I love Turkish carpets! I've bought dozens of them. I stopped buying them only when I ran out of floor space.
Most of my carpet-buying experiences have been pleasant, but the range of possible experiences is broad indeed, and includes the distinct possibility of expensive disappointment.
A Handmade Carpet
is a Work of Art
Why should it be difficult to buy a simple piece of woven cloth? Because an oriental carpet is not a simple piece of woven cloth. At their best, hand-made carpets are original, one-of-a-kind works of art, and how do you put a price on a work of art?
Beautiful carpets are plentiful, bargains are few. Many of the carpets on sale in Turkey today are actually made in China and India, by hand or by machine. Their quality can be excellent, or not, but they are not "real" Turkish carpets. Does that matter to you? I have personally experienced and seen others purchase nothing but 100% authentic from Punto in Istanbul over most other choices. They are not the only option but my list of recommended is short!
Prices range from good to outrageously high. It's very easy to pay too much. There's also the possibility of a VAT refund scam.
The carpet-seller is a professional. He has performed this play hundreds or thousands of times, and is very good at it. You are probably a novice. You need a strategy:
Here's Your Strategy
1. Compare at home first. Before coming to Turkey, go to a carpet shop near your home, look at some carpets, ask some prices. This will help you to spend less of your valuable travel time learning about carpets, and more on finding the carpet you want at a good price.
2. Devote time to your purchase. Know how carpet shops work (here it is). Do not commit to buy from just any friendly carpet salesman in Turkey, research before you buy from the shop you like best. More...
3. You will pay Value-Added Tax (VAT/KDV) on your purchase. You may be able to receive a refund of the tax when you take your purchase out of Turkey, but some unscrupulous sales persons may cheat you of this. Here's how they do it.
TTP highly recommends Vezirhan as a trusted carpet shop in Istanbul for now 32 years. Prior to their opening in Istanbul they were located in Van (Eastern Turkey).
The shop is full of wonderful people like Salman Abi, who grew up in Eastern Turkey with the heritage and lifestyle of making and selling traditional carpets. Abi’s mother was a very skilled and made amazing pieces using natural colors.
For over a decade we have seen Punto offering a wide range of high quality, authentic, hand-made rugs as new, antique, and vintage. You will find fine rugs from timeless classics to exotic contemporary in special collections as well. Their antique Turkish and Persian rugs collection has been gathered with the expertise of literally generations. Also the pure silk rugs are woven on the masters-looms of the famous Ozipek and Cinar families and considered to be their signature collection.
Owner Memet Gureli runs EthniCon and Dhoku in Istanbul to sell some of the highest quality Turkish carpets to consumers from around the world. He is a third generation carpet salesman who has been selling in the Grand Bazaar for 45 years. As the most award-winning rug company in Turkey, EthniCon offers outstanding prices for their Turkish carpets of the highest quality and style without overcharging customers, as many carpet shops do.
Tell Dhoku/Ethnicon Carpets that "Turkey Travel Planner sent you" for best pricing, often times additional discounts, and assurance of an excellent experience because of the valued TTP recommendation!
Your Friendly Carpet Shop
Interaction between a carpet-seller and carpet-buyer is like a performance steeped in tradition. You need to know the script. Here it is...
—by Tom Brosnahan