Turkey has always been renowned for its carpets and kilims. Seen in many paintings from Renaissance times on, they represent a touch of luxury. They are made in a range of materials and styles with varying patterns and motifs, depending on the different regions of Anatolia where they originate.
The ancient city of Konya is a centre for weaving as well as repairing all types of oriental carpets. You don't spend many minutes gazing in a shop window before someone comes out to invite you to: 'Please, step inside.'
Once inside, you are waved to a seat and offered tea or coffee. Even if you are just looking, the merchant is pleased to show off his wares and hand you a catalogue.
In our case, Mehmet bey made us welcome, saying he was happy just to talk about his business.
He speaks half a dozen languages and travels the world to sell his goods in cities like Paris, Frankfurt and New York. As well as old carpets, he sells rugs made locally, to his orders. His carpets are made using natural dyes and the best wools. These modern carpets and kilims are woven in the villages around the city, using traditional motifs and patterns. To see and admire some of the wonderful carpets in his stock, try http://www.silkroadrugs.com/
His shop was a veritable Aladdin's cave of treasures, antique and modern carpets, kilims, woven nomad tent decorations, cicims, battered tools from long ago, as well as furniture and ornaments from the Ottoman period.
Looking at the neat and not so neat piles of carpets, it seemed to me that they were like books and the shop like some sort of library. You need to read a carpet. Its colours and motifs tell you about the way of life and the tribal origins of the area where it was made [the Turkic peoples were originally nomads travelling westwards from Central Asia] ; the number of knots per square inch, the quality of the weaving; the materials used: wool, cotton or silk. And then the carpet has to appeal to you aesthetically and emotionally as an item you will live with and treasure - just like a good book.