Carpet Study Tour to Western and Central Anatolia June 2024

Category: Travel

The ‘Carpet Study Tour to Western and Central Anatolia’ organized by Stefano Ionescu took place from 5 June to 20 June 2024. The traveling group was quite large and the first two legs (Istanbul and Izmir) were attended by 27 participants from 9 countries: USA, Canada, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Romania, Tunisia, and Lebanon. Most travelers had already participated in several other tours organized by Stefano Ionescu and knew each other. Therefore the general atmosphere was like traveling with friends.

Wednesday 5 June was arrival date and included a visit to the Istanbul antique rug dealer Muhammet Solak and a Tour Dinner. Muhammet Solak was a member of the ICOC Istanbul exhibition committee.

Thursday 6 June included visits to famous mosques in Istanbul and in the evening a visit to the opening of the ICOC Conference and the Dealer’s Fair. Read more about ‘Opening of ICOC 2024 and Dealer’s Fair‘ in a separate article.

Friday 7 June some members of the traveling group took part in the ICOC lectures while others visited the permanent exhibition at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art (TIEM) and attended Aydin Gallery. In the evening members of the traveling group took part in a reception for the launch of Stefano Ionescu’s newly published book ‘The Transylvanian Heritage’ at Mehmet Cetinkaya’s Gallery. The book was published in Turkey by Arkas Art S.A. of Izmir. Read more about the ‘The permanent exhibition at the Museum for Turkish and Islamic Art‘ and about the reception ‘The Transylvanian Heritage – Ottoman Carpets 1450 to 1750‘ in separate articles.

Saturday 8 June some members of the group attended a cruise on Bosphorus while others attended the ICOC lectures. Those who did not attended the ICOC lectures visited Dolmabahce Art Gallery and the kilim exhibition at Tophane-i Amire. Read more about the ‘Kilim exhibition at Tophane-i Amire‘ and ‘Rugs and Textiles from the Ottoman Palace‘ in separate articles.

Sunday 9 June the group travelled with bus from Istanbul via Bursa to Izmir. In Bursa the group visited the Green Tomb and Mosque and the Great Mosque of Bursa.

Monday 10 June was depart for Ephesus and the famous archeological site and later a visit at carpet manufacurer Osman Can in Camlik. In Izmir the group visited a Hayim Gallery and learned about Jewish carpet merchants in Izmir.

Tuesday 11 June included a visit in Manisa and the Muradye Mosque designed by Sinan and later in the afternoon a visit to Arkas Art Bornova which hosts approximately 80 rugs from the Arkas Carpet Collection. The visit here was one of the ‘carpet’ highlights of the tour. Read more about the ‘Arkas Carpet Collection in Bornova‘ in a separate article.

Wednesday 12 June the group took a flight to Ankara and later visited the Ankara Vakif Museum. Read more about ‘Anatolian rugs at Ankara Vakif Museum‘ in a seperate article.

Thursday 13 June included visits at the famous Anatolian Civilization Museum and the Citadel Hill.

Friday 14 June the group departed with private bus for Aksaray and visited the Aksaray Museum which has a few outstanding rugs. Later in the afternoon the group visited Selime and a local rug dealer Mustafa Cevik.

Saturday 15 June the group departed for Goreme, Urgup and Avanos. On this tour the group admired the Cappadocian landscape, visited a local ceramic museum and visited Uchisar Castle.

Sunday 16 June the group departed for Ihlara Valley, Selime and Sultanhani. Sultanhani is known for the best preserved 13th century caravanserai on the Silk Road. In the evening the group visited a special exhibition ‘Silk Road Carpet and Kilim Exhibition 2024’ and met the mayor of Sultanhani Fahri Solak. Read more about the ‘Silk Road Carpet and Kilim Exhibition 2024‘ in a seperate article.

Monday 17 June the study group had a chance to see different phases of carpet making: wool carding, spinning, knotting on a loom. Today Sultanhani is the ‘capital of carpet restoration’ and the group visited Solak restoration centre. In the afternoon departed to Obruk and further to Konya and visited the Karatay Mosque, a museum with Seljuk ceramics and the Alaeddin Mosque in Konya.

Tuesday 18 June the group visited the Mevlana Museum and the Haga Elini Church in Sille. And the group visited Beysehir and the famous Esrefoglu Mosque. In the afternoon the group visited a few Konya rug dealers and among them Galeri Selcuk, Namasterug and Ipek Yolu Silk Road Rugs. Ipek Yolu’s rug storage is in a building next to Mehmet and Muammer Ucar’s hotel Dervis Otel. The Ucar brothers are well-knowned profiles in the rugworld and have many friends around the globe.

Wednesday 19 June the rug study group visited Konya Ethnography Museum with Seljuk and Ottoman rugs. Read more about ‘Historical carpets at Konya Ethnography Museum‘ in a seperate article. The group also visited the Artisan Centre in Konya. In the evening the study group held their Farewell Dinner at Sifa Restaurant.

Thursday 20 June was departure day and most of the members of the study group left for home after 15 days with great experiences and good company. Old friends were reunited and new friendships made.

A few continued their traveling in Turkey.

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