Regions

Major kilim producing regions:

Aegean Region (Afyon, Aydin, Bergama, Denizli, Manisa, Ushak)

This region by the Aegean Sea is arguably most familiar to Western audiences because it encompasses the lands of Troy, made famous by the recent Brad Pitt film. To students of history it’s a land renowned for its superb achievements in arts and architecture, not exclusively but particularly during the period of Ionian Renaissance. Rich and strategically placed, the Aegean region was frequently subject of invasions, which often brought depredations and destruction, but its climate, natural beauty and the talents of its population also often brought out the best in rulers and artists to give us some of the most enthralling monuments to human genius, among them two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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Central Anatolia (Aksaray, Cankiri/Corum, Elmadag, Kayseri, Kirsehir/Nevsehir. Konya, Sivas)

The Central Anatolian region encompasses an extensive high plateau separated by numerous mountain ranges from the Black Sea to the north and by the Taurus mountain range from the Mediterranean regions of the south. While significant northern portions of the Cankiri and Corum provinces are delineated as belonging to the Black Sea geographical region, their major parts as well as their cultural affinity and historical connections dictate that they be placed in the Central Anatolian region together with Elmadag, Sivrihisar, Kayseri, Kirsehir, Konya and Sivas. Like all of Anatolia, the central region was home to various civilizations and cultures, among them Hittite, Phrygian, Paphlagonian, Galatian and Lycaonian, not to mention Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine and Turkish.

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Eastern Anatolia (Erzurum, Kars, Malatya, Van)

The region of Eastern Anatolia borders the Caucasian republics that recently gained independence from the now-defunct Soviet Union; it also abuts Iran, formerly known as Persia. A constant bone of contention between Persia on the one hand and Rome-Byzantium on the other, in more recent times much of this territory was under Czarist Russian occupation from 1877 until 1918 - with the unending consequent suffering and displacement of populations through the ages. The region has experienced, in addition to Turkish, Kurdish, Azeri, Armenian, Russian and Iranian influence to a greater or lesser degree, some of which is evident in the designs and coloring of weavings made here.

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Southeastern Anatolia (Gaziantep, Marash)

The region of Southeastern Anatolia may also be called Upper Mesopotamia as it is watered by the upper reaches of both the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers and was undoubtedly under heavy Sumerian influence, perhaps even direct rule. The area embodies enormous historical heritage of importance to Judaism, Christianity and Islam because this is where Abraham, the prophet venerated by all three religions, is believed to have lived nearly 4000 years ago before migrating to Canaan. Sumerian antecedents of biblical stories testify to that ancient connection. Signs of Chaldean Christian, Armenian and Arab influence on architecture can be detected in this land contested for ages. Today the region has a large Kurdish population subdivided into numerous clans, many still socially organized along feudal lines and kilims have been woven by many. Regional kilim designs and motifs, however, have their origins buried deep in the amalgamated heritage emanating from all the civilizations and cultures of the region's past inhabitants, and it is simply incorrect to ascribe them only to the present denizens.

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Mediterranean Region (Adana, Antalya, Fethiye)

The long Mediterranean coast of the south of Turkey stretches from the Gulf of Iskenderun in the east to the Aegean Sea in the west. In most places the shoreline is narrow, bordered by the chain of the Taurus Mountains or its secondary ranges, usually equally rugged. For centuries much of this land was accessible only by sea due to inhospitable intervening terrain and the scarcity of passable roads. The Cilician Gates formed the most frequently used pass over the mountains which was used by all the major conquerors. In the meantime the mountains were the protected home to various clans, mainly Yoruk or Turkmen, who drove herds of goats and sheep between summer pastures in the highlands and winter pastures in the valleys. The shore was very sparsely inhabited until very recent times when tourism and the flight from the cities of the interior to the shore resulted in a population boom and the consequent devastation of natural surroundings in places where holiday villages and tourist facilities are built.

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Thrace (Sharkoy)

Turkish Thrace is that part of Turkey which lies in Europe, across the Dardanelles and Bosphorus Straits from Anatolia or Asia Minor. The Greeks crossed these straits to fight the Trojans, the Persians to fight the Greeks, the European Crusaders to fight the Saracens in the Holy Land and the Ottoman Turks to carve out their dominions and these are but a few of the most noted passages of multitudes in search of spoils or glory. The region remains named after its ancient inhabitants, the Thracians, who were of a good warrior race often forcibly drafted into the Roman legions or the Macedonian phalanx. In a land that for thousands of years has served as a bridge of passage between two continents it is, however, absurd to speak of the current racial stock with any level of confidence, but in the field of kilim rugs it can be said that they are distinctively different from those of Anatolia.

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Turkey

In both its historical and contemporary aspects, Turkey is of prime importance as a source of kilims and related flatweaves. The country consists of two geographical regions, Anatolia and Thrace, with Anatolia lying in Asia and being by far the larger of the two, while Thrace lies in the southeast of the Balkan region of Europe, bordered by Greece and Bulgaria.

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