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Traveler's Reports Our readers are invited to report on their interesting rug-related voyages here. No Marco Polo tall tales, please.

 
 
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Old January 6th, 2013, 03:06 AM   #1
Jeff Sun
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 37
Default Observations: Recent Trip to Istanbul

Got back from a shopping foray to Istanbul a few weeks ago. Here are my observations and comparisons from when I last visited in 2006.

1. Fewer carpets in general. Seriously. In Arasta, Grand Bazaar, Ali Baba Cadessi, etc. while there are still many carpets to be had, there seems to be a great influx of other textiles: Suzani, caps, Chirpy, felts, etc. than when I last visited in 2006.

2. Everyone seems to have Caucasian rugs. I was quite shocked at the number of antique caucasians. In fact the supply was so large it seemed out of whack with market pricing. The quoted (not negotiated) pricing for antique pieces seemed in-line with what I would expect to pay in the New York rug district...which also seemed out of whack to me. Maybe it's because there is no "Local" market anymore. Instead anyone from anywhere can sell on the internet and command NY prices. Maybe its a Caucasian bubble. A scan of recent and upcoming auctions also reveals what seems to me to be a disprortionately large amount of Caucasians, further lending support to the bubble theory.

3. Antique Anatolians, however, were scarcer...but not so scarce. However, the prices seemed even more stratospheric. The ones I did see were quoted (not negotiated) at prices probably 20 times actual worth. Which rather insulted me.

4. They have banned smoking in restaurants which leads to a much tastier dining experience.

5. The new trams around Sultanahmet are very convenient.

6. Fewer (as in no) street touts.I guess they have found more profitable business elsewhere.

7. They removed the space shuttle gantry from the middle of Aya Sofia.

8. The municipal street dogs seem to have been replaced by street cats

9. Carpet museum is STILL not open. Apparently the space is "too moist" for carpets which have all been put into storage somewhere else. The folks I spoke to in the Arasta bazaar were rather exasperated that in 7, (or 8, or 10 years...who remembers?) whoever runs the museum has been unable to locate a new venue or install some dehumidifiers.

10. In the end, I surprised myself and didn't end up buying ANY old carpets. instead I bought two new production Caucasian designs from Konya. in this case it was tough to argue with either the price or quality ...and they look great side by side on the floor which is where they are now. I should add that I saw some new production kilims which were of just amazing quality. Better and finer in weave than anything I have seen before. Colors were impressive as well.

Last edited by Jeff Sun; January 6th, 2013 at 04:28 PM.
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