carpet buying guide

We know a thing or two about carpets! So when you come to Sıla Halı (antalyacarpet.com), you know you’re getting:

A handmade oriental rug is the ultimate travel trophy, but if you do not want to be ripped off, it helps to know what to look for. Simon Busch explains how to pick the right threads

Never mind a mounted warthog head or wobbly waterpipe, for me a handmade carpet is the supreme travel trophy. The interweaving of exoticism, age-old skill and sheer prodigious effort make their selection, acquisition and, finally, possession a rare thrill. But, like most alluring things, bagging a good carpet is not easy and far too many travellers find that, instead of returning home with a length of treadable magic in their luggage, they have been taken for a ride.

There are two schools of thought about oriental carpet buying. The first, the one expounded in many guidebooks, holds that casual carpet buyers will inevitably get ripped off and that, given the gaping economic disparity between the West and the carpet-making rest, the damage will be slight – and perhaps even a justified kind of post-colonial revenge. The second sees the exchange between you and the carpet dealer as akin to a barely disguised duel.

... it pays go shop beyond the capital. Photograph: Patrick Ward/Corbis