Cultural and textile adventure in Istanbul and Greater Anatolia

Alahan Monastery in Taurus Mountains – a masterpiece of early Christian Architecture
Alahan Monastery in Taurus Mountains – 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.

Golden Horn – Istanbul and Ottoman velvet Chatma loom

Day 1May 24, 2020 – 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, 2020 – We explore the newly established Vakiflar Carpet museum with its extensive installation of carpets gathered from Mosques and state buildings, mostly coming from three major carpet making centers of Anatolia such as Ushak, Bergama and Konya. Some of the carpets exhibited survived from 15th century. 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, 2020 – We will drive to end of Bosphorus to Sadberk Hanim Museum which is one of the great Anatolian textile and ethnographic art museum of Istanbul. It contains over 20.000 artifacts including great Ottoman Textiles, costumes, Iznik ceramics and ethnographic art. We will also visit nearby Kilim and ethnographic art Museum of Josephine Powell who had the reputation of “American Nomad” in between Anatolian Turkmens. She donated all her textile art collection to KOC Family and they exhibit them in an old Ottoman House. After lunch in the area, we will drive back to Old town to walk through spice market and old bazaar of the Locals. We will walk from here to old town and visit Islamic art museum. End of day. Dinner in a nice restaurant. B.L.D.

Ottoman Catma – silk and metallic velvet, Ottoman silk embroidery

Day 4May 27, 2020 – We fly to Ankara in the morning and drive to city including a city driving tour of Ataturk’s Mausoleum ( Founder of Modern Turkey ) and uptown where the Foreign Embassies have settled in early Republic days. Later we will experience the special taste of Ankara – Alexander the Great Kebab ( vegetarians have other choices). Later we will drive to Ankara Castle where Celts have established a kingdom called “Galatia” in 300 BCE. Visiting most important – Anatolian Civilizations Museum of Turkey where we can see artifacts from 10.000 BCE until to Republic days. Dinner and Overnight.

Anatolian tribal rug and kilim

Day 5May 28, 2020 – Morning starts with the visit to State Vakiflar carpet museum in center of town. Later we will visit Anatolian Ethnography Museum. And after lunch we will drive up to old town and visit the Rahmi Koc Museum next to our hotel. Walk in old town streets to see how old trading traditions still survive. Dinner and Overnight.

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 Taurus Mountains
Turkmen pasture lands in highlands of Taurus Mountains

LARENDE – KARAMANIA: The history of Larende dates back to BCE times, then to Roman times, and onto the Eastern Roman times. 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. 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 descendants of Seljuk / Ottoman 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 6May 29, 2020 – 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.

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.

The Museum and Mausoleum of Sufi Celaleddin Rumi – Konya
The Museum and Mausoleum of Sufi Celaleddin Rumi – Konya

Day 7May 30, 2020 – Driving to Taurus Mountains – Karamania, 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. B.L.D.

Day 8May 31, 2020 – 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. B.L.D.

Angora wool spinning lady in Taurus Mountains, Natural dying with red onion skin and mulberry leaves

Day 9June 01, 2020 – 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. B.L.D.

Day 10June 02, 2020 – 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.

Day 11June 03, 2020 – 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 textile 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.

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: 11 days

Tour Dates:

May 24 – June 03, 2020 – Booking to date: 1 person

May 24 – June 02, 2018 – Operated

Contact for more information:


Kristina FieldsThank you from the bottom of my heart for an experience of a lifetime

Dear TurkishFolkArt,

Vedat, Now that I am here and settled in Italy and have a bit of free time, I wanted to write and thank you from the bottom of my heart for an experience of a lifetime. You have such a wonderful ability to combine two passions and share them in such a friendly, inviting and organized way which made the trip such a fantastic experience. I was so very impressed with the beauty of your country, the warmth of your people, its history, religion, culture, textiles and last, but not least the food!

Thank you for sharing all of that with us.

Kristina Fields – Oregon U.S. A. , 2018

Marilyn, Dale and NigarTruly fantastic trip

Dear Vedat,

What a truly fantastic trip led as always in your extraordinary style! We are all so very grateful for all you have given us and for your passion for Turkey which is so infectious.

Marilyn, Dale and Nigar - U.S.A. – MA, 2018

Mary HockenCulture - History - Textiles - Food - Walking and all that made up the fabulous trip

Culture - History - Textiles - Food - Walking and all that made up the fabulous trip. Thank you so much again dear Vedat. Your knowledge about everything is amazing and your dear self unmatched anywhere.

Mary Hocken - UMass. U.S. , 2018

Robert FieldIt was all so superb

Dear Vedat,

I know that Kristina sang your praises and we totally agree on the quality of the tour. The night we returned to Istanbul she asked me, "What was the best time; can you say?" and I answered, "No, I can't say - it was all so superb."

You do walk on water, you know.!!!

Robert Field Oregon, U.S.A. , 2018

Diane SchalapiYour eternal efforts to insure our comfort

Dear Vedat

And I truly mean THANKS with utmost sincerity for:

1. Your eternal efforts to insure our comfort

2. Your superb ability to capitalize on sudden changes in a schedule and turn it into an advantage/opportunity

3. Your compassion towards those in the group (the slow, the unsteady, the walking wounded!) and to accommodate them.
(And, in the case for myself, your ability to find me nazarliks, provide my favorite food, listen to my complaints and calm me down gently.)

4. Your boundless knowledge of what seems to be EVERYTHING! History, culture, politics, manners, people, events, exchanges, anecdotes, story-telling, tall tales, short tales, and delicious stories of your past adventures!


Diane Schalapi, MA - USA, 2018

Richard LeeThese trips will not last forever

If you want to see and feel Turkey through the eyes and spirit of a true Turk , go with Mr. KARADAG. Nothing in Turkey is closed off to him. He knows history, the pleasures of good food, the beauty of all kinds of textiles and weavings. Turkey is one of the main crossroad of the world and has been for thousands of years. There is no better person to give you a knowledge and feel for this than Vedat. Go now. These trips will not last forever.

Richard Lee Hartford - Connecticut, 2018

Bett FieldsThe People you introduced into our lives

Vedat, the time spent with you on the Textile and cultural Tour was glorious. Your love for Turkey, your unfailing sense of adventure, and your attention to detail made this the absolute trip of a lifetime. Always open to what might be possible, you led us from adventure to surprise to revelation. The sights we saw! The people you introduced into our lives! The sights, the history, the boon companions, the carpets, textiles, museums and small villages! Your knowledge and endless enthusiasm were a constant delight. I'll be talking and reminiscing about this trip for many years to come. Thank you, my friend.

Bett Fields TEXAS, USA