The coastal city of Hereke is located close to Istanbul, at the northern edge of the Izmit Bay. Hereke has been a unique weaving center since 1843 when the Ottoman Emperor Sultan Abdulmecid set up the Hereke Imperial factory. Initially, Hereke carpets were made exclusively for the aristocracy of the Ottoman Empire and offered as gifts for visiting heads of state and royal palaces. It was only in 1890 that the carpets were made available for the general public and today Hereke carpets are highly sought after collector’s pieces.
Hereke carpets represent the pinnacle of Turkish weaving tradition and the finest of all Turkish handknotted carpets are produced here.
The carpets are double knotted using the Turkish knot (symmetrical knot) and woven either exclusively with a silk warp and a silk pile or with wool and cotton. Only the finest raw materials are used in Hereke carpets and the silk used comes from the city of Bursa.
Hereke carpet designs are inspired by both traditional Turkish and curvilinear Persian carpet motifs, and typically feature detailed depictions of flowers, birds, mihrabs (prayer niches) and the tree of life design. The colour palette is wide and harmonious with varying shades of ivory, dark blue, red, yellow and green being used in the carpets.
To this day, some of the finest silk carpets in the world are produced in Hereke.