Jozan Magazine has invited readers of the magazine, rug collectors and dealers to tell about experiences from travelling in rug producing countries – and of course especially about rugs.
Travelling in Turkey by Gregory Kimble 13 October 2002
Jozan Magazine raises an interesting issue, to which I would like to contribute a few observations. Beginning in the early 1980s, my wife and I have been to Turkey several times. We have purchased many items and, usually, for very good prices. Here are a few of our favorite dealers, organized by city.
In Istanbul, don’t miss Galelri Sirvan, Kesiciler Cadesi 55-57, in the Grand Bazaar. The owner is Erol Kazanci, the dean of Turkish rug dealers. Erol maintains a superb supply of relatively high-end pieces. He doesn’t bargain very much. We’ve bought several of our best rugs from him; and paid prices that were high, but fair considering quality.
In Ankara, try Kopmaz run by Ibrahim Geyikoglu–Koroglu Caddesi 103/B. We’ve bought two antique pieces from Ibrahim, both of which needed extensive restoration. The repair work was excellent, making use of wool from old kilims. After several years, the repairs still aren’t visible to the naked eye. Prices are reasonable.
Also in Ankara, try the Angora Bazaar–Atpazari Caddesi 15/C, near the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations–run by Muammer Uslu. The selection is of medium quality but you will almost certainly find something of interest, and at very good prices.
In Konya. we’ve had excellent luck at three different places: Karavan (Mevlana Caddesi 19/B), Genc Ortaklar (Young Partners)–Mevlana Caddesi 13/A, and Kandil (Altin Carsi 9/D). The selection varies but we have always seem many items that attracted us. Bargaining may reduce prices in all of these places.
Other cities where we have enjoyed shopping and bought a few things in shops for which we can’t remember names are Diyarbikir and Van. Prices in Van are higher than anywhere in Turkey, including Istanbul.
Just a word on bargaining. In many places it’s expected of you but it’s more a form of social interaction that haggling over prices. Once in Konya, we spent more than an hour, sitting on the floor in a shop, discussing everything from the Caucasian bag we were considering to the weather and thoughts about our personal situations. Finally, after asking everything that we could think of about the bag, I raised the question of price, planning to negotiate; but the dealer, instantly, offered It to us for about 40 percent less than the initial price–a very good bargain and we bought it.
Finally, this bit of advice: when you get involved in bargaining, never offer a sum that you actually are unwilling to pay. It’s the height of bad manners to make an offer and then back out of it.
I hope that, somewhere in these ramblings, some of you find something useful.