2019/11 - Journey to TurkeyRegular price $3,600.00
Date: November 1–16, 2019
IICRC Continuing Education: 14 credit hours
"Several ARCS members recently had the opportunity to tour the beautiful country of Turkey. This trip was slated to be fast-paced and filled with interesting sights, people and amazing rug industry content. I am happy to report it did not disappoint.
Our trip began in Istanbul which was chock-full of rich history and culture. We toured some amazing sights such as the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and Suleymaniye Mosque. While in Istanbul, we were able to view some wonderful carpet museums with massive collections of some of the world’s oldest & best carpets. The city and people were welcoming, and the hospitality was unmatched.
Next, we departed for Izmir, where our group had the chance to spend some time at ATC (Antique Textile Conservation). ATC is the premier facility for textile restoration work and the breadth of their knowledge is impressive. All kinds of textiles can be found here from important European tapestries to world-class carpets, and even Navajo textiles of the American Southwest. They are being expertly restored at this facility. Our group had the honor of welcoming Ahmet Opcin, one of the owners of ATC, who joined us for the remainder of our time in Turkey. Ahmet was extremely gracious with his time and was an excellent guide. The trip would not have been the same without him and it was such a pleasure to meet him.
While in Izmir we toured the ruins of Ephesus, visited local rug washing facilities, and were welcomed into the manufacturing plant of Ergin Makina. They manufacture equipment for rug washing and were gracious hosts. Our group also had the chance to tour Can Carpet where we saw natural dying of wool & carpet weaving.
Our trip continued to more central Turkey to the cities of Kayseri & Konya. We stayed in the quaint village of Guzelyurt. Here we spent a few nights in rustic bed & breakfasts. The families that operated these homes were unbelievably welcoming and hospitable towards our group. While in this region of Turkey, some of us took the opportunity to enjoy a sunrise hot air balloon tour of the beautiful Cappadocia area; it was quite breathtaking.
In Aksaray, we toured a large wool processing plant that produces machine-spun wool. We were also welcomed into many rug galleries in this same area, where many from the group were able to purchase rugs for their homes and retail businesses.
One highlight was spending some time in Sultanhani which houses the largest Caravanserai in Turkey. The caravanserai served as a roadside inn for ancient travelers and is a great example of 13th century Seljuk architecture. Our group was welcomed to Sultanhani by none other than the mayor himself, Fahri Solak, who also happens to be in the rug business. Our entire group of 18 were welcomed into his office for tea and a generous gift. We toured Fahri’s rug repair workshop & gallery as well as a carpet weaving facility down the street from his office.
At the end of our trip in Kayseri, we had a chance to visit 3 homes of kilim weavers. These women were so gracious, allowing our large group into their homes to see them working. The small looms were set up in family rooms & balconies. It was quite the experience.
Overall, the kindness of the people and sights in Turkey were excellent. The amount of rug industry content was truly spectacular. Many thanks to ATC, Ahmet Opcin, & Robert Mann for making this a trip of a lifetime. I look forward to the next one!"
Oriental Rug Cleaning
"The ARCS trip to Turkey was one of the best trips of my life. I have traveled most of my life to a wide variety of places and Turkey jumped to my top 5 pretty early on the trip. The sights, sounds, culture, and food of Turkey were enough to make for an incredible trip, but the industry knowledge made it all the better. After being in the rug cleaning industry for 9 years, there is a certain amount of knowledge that one gain from working, classes and conventions, but my understanding of some of the finer points of rugs came through this trip. We were able to watch wool processing, wool dying, rug weaving and knotting, a number of finishing and distressing processes. We were invited into the premier rug and tapestry restoration facility in the world, ATC, where we watched the masters working their crafts. We wheeled and dealt with rug vendors and a rug auction. The information gained on this trip cannot be measured. The other excellent part of the trip was the interesting group of people we traveled with. Everyone was incredibly kind and getting to know everyone made the trip really great. I look forward to the next one!"
Oriental Rug Cleaning Co.
We will visit a number of different cities and villages, meeting people all along the way, including:
- Istanbul - Carpet museums, Aya Sophia, Mosques, wholesale carpet dealers, covered bazaar, markets
- Izmir - private tour of ATC - a premier carpet restoration facility. Ancient ruins of Ephesus, small village carpet production in Seljuk, visit a small neighborhood wash plant.
- Central Anatolia - Aksaray, Guzelyurt, Ilhara Valley with its ancient Christian Churches
- Hot Air Balloon Excursion- additional cost of $150-$200/person, contact Ann Marie for advance registration
- Kayseri - Visit handmade carpet industry facilities scattered around the area.
- Istanbul - back again for more sights, shopping, and great food.
Registration includes lodging, meals (no alcohol), site admission(s) and travel within Turkey.
Registration is double occupancy, single occupancy is an additional fee. Roundtrip airfare to Turkey is not included with registration fee, however group travel will be arranged from Chicago to Istanbul for those interested.