Turkish Rugs and Carpets
Turkish rugs and carpets are one of the most popular souvenirs one can buy from Turkey. In any of the touristic places of Turkey, you can see stores that sell these beautiful rugs and carpets. Turkish carpets and rugs have their unique designs and colours. They represent the colourfulness of the Middle Eastern culture perfectly.
These bright and colourful rugs and carpets represent many things in the lives of the Turkish people. Values and lifestyles of Turkmen societies led the birth of this tradition with their lives. They were nomads and used to change their settlements frequently. They started to make carpets and rugs with wool dyed by roots of colourful plants. These rugs and carpets enabled them to sit and sleep on clean surfaces, protect their living spaces from dirt and sand and keep their tents warm. They also used carpets and rugs as decorations by hanging them on walls. This represents the importance they gave to living in a clean, warm and protected spaces.
Although they were started to be made by practical purposes, they became symbols for Turkish people. The Turkish people who weaved the carpets channelled their emotions and artistic views to these pieces. Later, Turkish people transitioned to settlements, and they started to learn more about wools and natural dyeing. They were living in locations very close to the silk road and they were familiar with weaved products and fabrics. Therefore, they merged this practical household item with a touch of art.
It was proven that Turkish people made the first carpet in the world. In 1948, Russian archaeologist Sergei Rudenko found the first carpet ever made. The rug was called the “Pazirik Carpet” and dates back to 5th century BC. This first carpet is displayed in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg since 1950.
The carpets started to be made by nomad Turkmens, and they got popular by travelling with them and attracted the attention of many civilizations. One of the most prominent Turkish Empires, Seljuks gave a great deal of importance to these crafts. Carpets brought to Iran from Anatolia by Seljuks, and the very first carpet workshops were established in Konya in this period. The carpets made in the Seljuks period were mainly inspired by the lively and dynamic structure of nature.
After Seljuks, the Ottoman Empire continued this tradition willingly and enthusiastically. With the advancements in technology and mechanics, larger carpets were being made. These carpets were generally made for the palace to be used in mosques.
Turkish rugs attract the attention of many people around the world. Starting from the Ottoman Empire, continued by the Turkish Republic, giving carpets to foreign representatives or political leaders is an act of kindness and a never-ending tradition. Therefore, many tourists who come to Turkey want to buy a Turkish rug or carpet. They are the best souvenirs which represent the colourful nature and expertise of Turkish people, and hundreds of years of history.