Cultural and textile adventure in Istanbul and Greater Anatolia

Alahan Monastery near Karaman – a masterpiece of early Christian Architecture
Alahan Monastery near Karaman – a masterpiece of early Christian Architecture

ISTANBUL is the melting pot of Asia and the West.
Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul – three names given to a city with a great past and a fascinating present. At first glance the cultures meeting there seem incompatible: the Eastern Roman Empire was Christian, imbued with European and occidental thought and ideals, whereas the Ottoman Empire was rooted in the traditions of the newest world religion, Islam, born in the Middle East. We see their legacy in the art and architecture of the city.


Day 1May 24, 2019 – Arrival in Istanbul. Private Transfer to your hotel in the old town. Orientation and welcome dinner. D.

Ankara Vakiflar Museum
Ankara Vakiflar Museum

Day 2May 25, 2019 – We explore the newly established Vakiflar Carpet museum with its extensive installation of rugs and objects of Islamic art. We will wander the back streets and hidden corners of the Grand Bazaar with Vedat in search of treasures. We also have an optional visit to major textile stores in the old district of Sultanahmet. Overnight in old Istanbul. B.L.

Day 3May 26, 2019 – We take a full day to discover the Asian side of the city, visiting workshops making brocade fabrics in a revival of 16th century designs and techniques. We will roam the streets and markets of old Kalkedon, and enjoy the many tastes their specialty foods for dinner. Overnight in old Istanbul. B.L.D.

Revival Ottoman silk brocade fabrics
Revival Ottoman silk brocade fabrics

Day 4May 27, 2019 – We fly to Ankara to visit the most important Vakiflar museum in Turkey, with its rich antique rugs and kilims collection. Vedat will give a talk detailing the Vakiflar Museum’s history and discuss important rugs in the collection.

Details of Anatolian kilims in Vakiflar museum
Details of Anatolian kilims in Vakiflar museum

Later, we visit the nearby Ankara Ethnography Museum. Included in the collections are important rugs, textiles, and folk art. Included also is a 1500 year old Bible, hand-written gold letters in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. It contains Jesus’ early teachings and a prediction of the coming the Prophet Mohammad. After a special dinner, we will spend the night in a hotel situated in a 16th century Ottoman building. B.L.D.

A Turkmen Adventure in Central Anatolia
The Turkmenistan of Anatolia – Tribes – Valleys – Textiles – and surviving traditions from Central Asia.

Turkmen pasture lands in highlands of Karaman
Turkmen pasture lands in highlands of Karaman

KARAMAN – LARENDE: The history of Larende dates back to BCE times, then to Roman times, and onto the Byzantine periods. It was occupied by Frederic Barbarossa in 1190, during the Third Crusades, and dominated by the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia from 1211 to 1256. The Seljuk Turks captured it in the 13th century and gave it their tribal name – Karaman. It was the capital of the Karamanid dynasty until captured by the Ottomans in 1468. The surrounding villages and higher valleys are still populated by descendents of Seljuk Turks. The Christian population, including Turkic Christian groups, migrated to Greece according to a population exchange agreement between two countries.

A Turkmen village in central Anatolia, Anatolian mud brick house
A Turkmen village in central Anatolia, Anatolian mud brick house

Day 5May 28, 2019 – Drive to KONYA – We take a drive of 3 to 3.5 hours through fertile green lands. Konya was the early capital city of the Seljuk Turks. However, settlements here go back to the Neolithic age, as shown in the Chatalhoyuk and Acemhoyuk historical sites.

Whirling Dervish
Whirling Dervish

We will visit the Konya Ethnographic Museum which houses some rugs of the early Seljuk and classical period, along with some later textiles. We will see the Whirling Dervishes center and mausoleum of Celalledin Rumi and the beautiful Seljuk era Sircali Madrasa. Overnight in Konya. B.L.D.

Konya City Center, Mevlana Museum
Konya City Center, Mevlana Museum

Day 6May 29, 2019 – We drive to Karaman, 1.5 hrs. After visiting the local museum, we will explore undiscovered treasures, early Christian settlements and local Turkic tribal people still living in their own pastoral way. This will be a day trip. Overnight in Karaman. B.L.D.

Day 7May 30, 2019 – Today, we drive to the Anatolian plateau, to an altitude of about 1800 meters high (5900 feet). Driving here is like being on another planet. We will be in a wild landscape with different kinds plants and flowers—and see the pastoral life settled tribal Turkmens with their goat flocks. Return to town for our farewell dinner. Overnight in Karaman. B.L.D.

Silk spinning 90 years old lady in Taurus mountain, Natural dying with red onion skin and mulberry leaves
Silk spinning 90 years old lady in Taurus mountain, Natural dying with red onion skin and mulberry leaves

Day 8May 31, 2019 – Today we walk in a nearby canyon, passing by some small villages. It is an easy walk, without serious hiking – but you will need shoes with good traction for downhills. (A shoe with a pronounced heel and/or a patterned sole for gripping is strongly recommended). We will see a beautiful landscape, with high gorge hills, lined with caves and settlements. Our picnic lunch of local, natural foods and drinks will be enjoyed on the way. We return to town in mid-afternoon for a stroll in the bazaars. Dinner and overnight in Karaman. B.L.D.

Anatolian Taurus mountain Turkmen felt, Anatolian angora tulu rug
Anatolian Taurus mountain Turkmen felt, Anatolian angora tulu rug

Day 9June 01, 2019 – We drive back to Konya 1.5 hrs. Upon arrival, will visit the Karatay museum which houses many Seljuk tiles and artifacts from the 13th century.

We will wander the streets of Konya exploring antique rug shops. After lunch, We will visit the local State Vakiflar carpet museum and the women’s fresh vegetable and fruits market. Early evening, we fly back to Istanbul.

End-of-Tour. Overnight in Istanbul. B.L.D.

Day 10June 02, 2019 – Fly home, private transfers to International Airport.

Tour leader



Tour leader, Textile professional

Vedat KARADAG’s tours have always included weavers’ and artisans’ workshops, exotic bazaars and markets, “pickers’ holes” and interactions with local people, and these will be highlights of this specialized tour.

Vedat has initiated and led special tours for The Textile Museum in Washington, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Museum, the Istanbul International Conference on Oriental Carpets, the Toronto University Art Faculty students, and textile and history-oriented small groups. Many American and Canadian rug society members have traveled with Vedat, and had wonderful experiences in his small group tours. In addition to all parts of Turkey, he has taken groups to Central Asia, and to Syria. Lately, he has opened Iran with its textiles, culture and history, to rug and textile lovers.

Vedat’s involvement with both the travel business and the antique carpet and textile business for the last 30 years has allowed him to blend his two passions in life, travel and textiles. Those who sign on for his adventures will also benefit from Vedat’s third love, which is discovering and enjoying the best of the regional foods of Greater Anatolia.

Tour details

Tour type: Cultural & Textile adventure

Activity rating: Moderate, walking on country side trails, museum and workshop visits.

Tour length: 10 days / Istanbul / Ankara / Konya / Karaman /

Tour Dates:

May 24 – June 02, 2018 – Booking to date: Fully booked

May 24 – June 02, 2019 – Booking to date: 1 person

Tour cost:

– Per-person sharing in double room $ TBA based on 8 to 10 persons.
– Per-person sharing in double room $ TBA based on 6 – 7 persons.
– Hotel Single Supplement – $ TBA

Price Includes:

– 9 Night accommodations in selective boutique hotels and best ones available in small towns;
– 28 – 30 seat A/C midi-bus transportation throughout the trip for 8-10 persons;
– 14 – 16 – seat A/C mini-bus transportation throughout the trip for 6-7 persons;
– All meals included with selective local fresh choices except one dinner on own in Istanbul. We have no restrictions – we provide all kinds of food (vegetarians are welcome);
– 2 Domestic air tickets – Istanbul – Ankara / Konya – Istanbul;
– Bottled water at meals, during transportations and at hotels;
– Tipping to Hotel receptions, bellboys and restaurants;
– All Group and Private arrival and departure transfers.

Price Excludes:

– Personal needs – laundry – drinks, hotel extras and phone calls etc.
– Gratitude to Bus driver $ 60 per person based on 6-7 persons / $ 50 per person based on 8 – 10 persons

Contact for more information:


Tribal textiles, weavings and objects of art