Can anyone who has been on the Rick Steves Tour of Turkey tell me which carpet dealer they visit? Which town is it near? And are you willing to share your experience (either positive or negative)? Thank you.
I took this tour in October 2018. I have no idea of the location of the carpet dealer we visited. If my memory serves, it was on the way to our destination for that day.
It was a very educational experience. Yes, we all knew it was a sales opportunity for the carpet dealer but they spent a lot of time with us showing us the way carpets are made, the materials, etc. We saw the looms and how the silk is harvested. Fascinating!
Our guide told us Rick himself vouched for the legitimacy of the dealer. Our group bought a number of rugs, so gorgeous!
All of the tour guides will run you through a small mall with carpet dealers. We bought one near Ephesus, and later bought another locally when we returned home.
The rug stores will actually deliver the rugs to your homes, and they follow back with us from time to time trying to sell us more rugs--taking trade in's even.
The rug business is having difficult times, with political problems and a downturn in visitors coming off cruise ships to Turkey. Even though there is an overabundance of inventories, prices remain very strong. Unfortunately, millennials and the younger generations are not into luxurious furnishings in their homes.
But, the RS tour does not take you to a mall full of carpet shops. We were taken to one dealer’s place of business outside of any major city. RS tours are decidedly different from other tour companies.
The RS Turkey Tour carpet stop was in Cappadocia. It was on the way from one site to another and included a light lunch and drinks. The owner is an Australian speaking Turk, who runs a government standardized carpet factory. We didn't purchase any carpets, though some on the Tour did ($40,000+ worth).
Edit: here is a previous thread with various points of views - https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/turkey/turkish-carpets I thought the visit was very informative and worthwhile.
Unfortunately, millennials and the younger generations are not into luxurious furnishings in their homes.
Well, when it comes to paying rent, buying groceries and putting gas in the car or buying a $40,000 Turkish rug no matter how much you want the rug (or any other luxury purchase), I think I know which option will win. Millennials and younger generations simply don't have the disposable income their parents and grandparents had at the same point in life. Most don't even qualify for mortgages.
Thank you everyone for your replies. I appreciate your candor.
From the "Itinerary" for the RS Turkey tour
Day 5: Ancient Churches of Göreme
Surrounded by Cappadocia's otherworldly "fairy chimney" rock formations, we'll begin our day with a walking tour of our village of Mustafapaşa, followed by a drive to the nearby Göreme Open-Air Museum, where, in Byzantine times, cave-like churches and monasteries were carved in the cliffs. Some astonishing 1,000-year-old frescoes still remain. This afternoon we'll be treated to a home-prepared, Cappadocian-style lunch and learn about the centuries-old tradition and artistry of Turkish carpet weaving. We'll have dinner together back in Mustafapaşa tonight. Bus: 2 hours. Walking: moderate.
Aloha Janalla, I was also on the RS Turkey tour in 2018. As has been written here, the tour itinerary did include just one stop at a very nice carpet factory and gallery. The educational presentation was interesting, the refreshments were OK. The large inventory of carpets at the gallery seemed very high quality, beautiful and very diverse in terms of sizes, styles, materials, etc. I believe they were all newly-made, not antique, older or used, but I’m not sure of that. I found the prices high, outside of my range of price or interest. But I’m not saying they were not good value for someone wanting a beautiful, large, new Turkish carpet for their home. I was satisfied to learn and then take many photos of diverse carpets. Several of my tour mates did seem to purchase nice carpets. I think when 2002leonard mentioned $40,000+ worth of carpets, that was probably the group’s total, not a single carpet, but maybe he/she can clarify. By the way, RS guides do not regularly make “shopping” stops and never take commissions like many other guides do, as part of their income from guiding. Also, I really love Turkish and other international carpets and other textiles. On this trip I bought a couple nice items, including a small older carpet from the mountains of eastern Turkey, which I bought at a small carpet shop, while I was wandering through old Antalya, not a fine piece, more rustic. I think it was originally priced about $350, and I negotiated down to $120. I’m enjoying it right this minute, as it resides in front of my easy chair, where I’m sitting to write this.
I wrote about my very positive experience in the thread that 2002Leonard has posted a link to.
The carpet factory was the last stop of the day, allowing those of us who were serious about buying to stay and shop while the rest of the tour went back to the hotel for a rest. The factory took us buyers back in a minivan.
There are carpets (wool or silk - guess which costs more :-) and there are kilims, which can be either hung on a wall or used as a carpet. They are pile-less, less ornate, and considerably cheaper.
I love my wool carpet, which I've had for nearly 6 years now and enjoy it every single day.
There were 4 or 5 in our tour that purchased carpets; $40,000+ was the overall total.
On the same tour as Leonard. It was a very nice, educational experience. Nice light refreshments. There was at most mild to medium sales pressure. They were very good about not pushing too hard.
Not sure about the total for the group. However, they showed us some rugs that did cost $35-50,000 each. They were pure silk, absolutely beautiful design and stitching. There was an incredible blue silk rug, about 4x6 feet, that was going for $35,000. Instead of forking over $35K, I have a nice picture of it instead.