I have never heard a man talk so passionately about carpets in my entire life, or anything, for that matter. Listening to someone talk about something they love, a deep love so engrained and passionate it takes over their entire life, is an amazing thing. Mr. Serdal Karakus passion is rugs. He jokes light heartedly that his wife left him because he loved rugs more than her, and just quietly I don’t doubt that.
I was drawn into this small antique rug store when walking the main street of Cappadocia. With no sign and only some magical old looking rugs hung on entrance, one couldn’t be blamed for confusing it with a home.
Upon entrance a small European man with tanned skin and a kind smile welcomed us with open arms. We could tell instantly this wasn’t just any old tourist rug store, selling rip offs to naive customers. Around the room was perfect stacks of brightly colored rugs, with wall hangings of old vintage carpets, some with holes and almost in tatters.
Interested, Tyral asked the going price of these magical carpets, the answer was about an hour and a half long…
Once he Mr. Karakus started talking he burst with love, talking from the heart with so much passion I began to see rugs from a whole new light. He wasn’t just selling rugs, he was selling culture, history, love and art. Each rug had its own story, it’s own identity, it’s own beauty. He excitedly pulled out rug after rug from the piles and lay them on then floor, pouring over them and explaining each detail, each symbols meaning with such craftsmanship, his hands running lightly around each image and soothing the fabric softly.
Some of the rugs were up to 70 years old, used by drifters to carry grains and eat on. Every piece was its own story, all individual and unique from the next I would have no idea how to pick my favorite.
The prices started at 100 euro and went far beyond 2,000. The older the rug the more expensive, and in many cases the more ratted the better.
Mr. Karakus started in the rug industry when he was a teenager, and says he slowly picked up his skills as he went. This kind of art cannot be taught, he said, but must be observed and practiced. What started as a collection soon turned into his entire life. He began to sell his rugs and soon opened a small shop in the Turkish capital of Ankara. When his marriage ended he moved to Cappadocia and opened the old, wooden store I visited. Under his shop he stores is favorite rugs, so precious he doesn’t show them to anyone, and above he lives and works on repairing the older rugs.
He sells to mostly Americans through eBay and has been trying to set up an online store for quite some time, it’s taken him over ten years to just pick a name he said. He hurried us over to a small paper print out of a the name ‘Kilim Culture’ and with his hand to his chin, head tilt to the side studying the image he asked our opinion. It was clear he took a lot of pride in his shop and the naming of his shop was an extremely hard decision. Due to this, it has made it hard for customers to recognise his business online, as he keeps changing it. Researching into his store to write this proved to be really hard, as I couldn’t find his Ebay or Easy account he had showed me only several months ago. He must have decided against the name…
Mr. Karakus shop is definitely worth a visit. We spent an hour and a half learning about all the rugs, the culture behind them and Mr. Karakus talk so quickly he barely took a breath. I wish I was financially stable enough to buy one of these magical carpets, but had to leave empty handed. Mr. Karakus isn’t fazed too much if you stress you can’t afford them, as he says telling people his story is enough, and he views it as an investment. He has had people he met 20 years ago, come back in contact with him to buy one of his rugs. Likewise, he has made many good friends through his store, who he continues to stay in contact with.
Mr. Karakus’s store and these magical carpets are more of a museum of history and culture than an rug store. I can promise you, you will never look at at a rug the same.