When in Turkey you cannot help but admire the beautifully designed rugs displayed in homes, restaurants, or hotels. Living in Kaleici, I walk by many merchants that sell Turkish rugs and always find myself stopping to marvel at some of their unique designs.
After speaking with a few of the locals in Antalya and reading information online about Turkish rugs, I decided to visit Dosemealti to explore the rug fields and see what else I can learn about rug weaving.
Dosemealti, where are you?
Dosemealti district once had an economic base on agriculture but has shifted to more of an industrial zone. Known to be home of specially designed weaved rugs, creating the simplest geometric motifs through expressive forms using only red, brown, blue, and green dyes which were my reason for the visit. The name Dosemealti (Doseme means “pavement”) refers to the ancient road once traveled by merchants from the Mediterranean.
Dosemealti is located 55 minutes from the city of Antalya. As we followed the GPS to the rug fields, the journey guided us through lands of agriculture into Mount Asar. Seeing countless fresh fruit stands along the road, we decided to stop to purchase a few items. Across the road, we noticed women working in the fields, so Omar took off across the street to see what they were picking. Strawberries, yummy!
Making a purchase at fruit stand.
As we continued down a country road, looking like it was going nowhere, we began to doubt our GPS and felt like we may have made a wrong turn. We stopped to ask for directions, hoping that Google translate would do us justice. With the assistance of one of the locals, who jumped in the car with us, guided us to TopKara Hali.
As we approached the field of rugs, we couldn’t believe the beautiful designs covering the ground as they were sunning on this hot summer day. We parked the car and walked onto the field, admiring the beautiful rug designs. This technique of sunning Turkish rugs is a method that has been used for decades.
Field of Carpet
Approximately 25,000 rugs from around the world are sent to Dosemealti to be cleaned, repaired, and laid out across nearly 500 acres to sizzle in the sun. Over several weeks the rugs are washed, dried, and dusted before being laid out in the scorching heat of the sun. After a month in the field sunning, the rugs soften and dyes fade, the rugs are picked up and are ready to be sold or shipped back to their owners.
Carpet design on the front is also on the back.
We had the chance to visit a facility where they wash and repair rugs. TopKara Hali. Thousands of rugs are piled high, waiting to be cleaned or repaired. We spoke to one of the managers who stated that most of the rugs have been sent to them from the United States or Europe. Due to very few places in the world that know how to correctly clean handwoven rugs, this process takes a while to be completed.
We asked about where we could go and watch the weaving of rugs. He informed us that “Dosemealti no longer makes hand woven rugs due to the lack of interest in the younger generation.” The only place you can find rug weaving is in small villages outside of Istanbul. We asked if we could purchase one of these rugs in the building and he said, “no because they will be sent to rug dealers or returned to the owners.”
Exploring Carpet Fields
Guide to Buying a Turkish Rug
A kilim is a flat-woven rug, the oldest of which is thought to have emerged in 7000 BC. Another type of rug called hali, knotted rugs, are believed to have been introduced in the 8th or 9th century. A true authentic Turkish rug has a couple of guiding rules to follow to determine its authenticity. A true antique Turkish rug is made from 100% silk threads. These rugs are smoothest but challenging to recognize just by touch. Examine the vertical and horizontal threads and if one of those looks thicker than the thread going the opposite direction it is most likely a blend. When Europe discovered and increased the demand for Turkish rugs, Turks began to weave them with wool. Although this is still a pristine rug, it is no longer considered an antique no matter what year it was made. Check the backside of the rug and you should see the same pattern on the backside as you do on the front side of the rug. Look at the number of knots per square unit. The more knots per square unit the higher the quality of the rug. Check for a hidden signature which can be included in patterns. Vintage rugs tend to be pricey. Find out where or what village the rug is made. Request a certificate of authenticity. These are a few guidelines to use when purchasing a rug.
After visiting with rug caretakers, I had a much better understanding of how to select and care for a vintage Turkish rug.
Before heading back to Antalya, it was time to make one more stop to check the historical Evdir Han.
Located in the Dosemealti district, two km off the main road, built on the ancient city of Termessos is the remains of Evdir Han. Han means inn. Hans is considered an Ottoman Turkish building that combined an urban hotel, stable, storage depot, and wholesale selling point.
Evdir Han was the first han (inn) along the road going north from Antalya on the Seljuk road. It is believed to have been built between 1215-1219. This was considered one of the largest hans built in the Anatolian region.
The entrance into the han is built out of finely cut smooth-faced stone. Travelers have mentioned this crown design through inscriptions discovered by archeologists. With an open courtyard, the rooms are distributed around the courtyard. On the front wall surrounding the entrance is a geometric pattern that borders the entrance.
After exploring this historical Evdir Han it was time to head back to Antalya.
I always enjoy discovering new places and learning something new such as the creation and care of Turkish rugs. If you are taking the road trip to the rug fields, you must stop and check out Evdir Han in Dosemealti
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.
Inshallah (God willing!)