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Hereke Istanbul

Hereke Istanbul
Hereke is famous for its finest silk oriental Hereke carpets that were woven here and are renowned the world over. The building that contained the carpet factory still remains and is just on the outskirts of Istanbul . It is close to a charming little fishing harbour which has nearby a lovely guesthouse that was built for Kaiser Wilhelm II when he came to visit.  

Ankyron Ancient City

Hereke is on the shores of the Bay of Izmit , and the ancient site of Ankyron, which is where Constantine the Great died in 337. There are few remains here other than small traces of a medieval castle on a hilltop that the historian Geoffrey de Villehardouin associated to the time of the Crusaders occupation of Constantinople from 1204-1261.

Hereke Carpet Factory

It was Sultan Abdülmecid I that established the factory at Hereke to produce the hand-knotted silk
carpets that were required by the royal palaces and at the same time a workshop of Hereke weavers was staffed at the Dolmabahce Palace . They went on to make 140 large carpets and 115 prayer mats and produced some of the best examples of carpet weaving in the world. After a fire in 1878 the factory closed, it reopened in 1882 but after losing its imperial patrons it began to decline between 1923 and 1945 although in the 1950s it picked up again and contracted the weaving out to workers in their own homes.

Visiting Hereke Today

Today Hereke is a kind of sleepy backwater that gets bypassed by the main Istanbul to Kocaeli highway although it is certainly worth spending half a day on a visit and has several fish restaurants around its small harbour and a small park to entertain you. 

Places to Visit in Hereke

Kaiser Wilhelm’s Guesthouse

This pretty white washed building was built on the waterside close to the carpet factory for the visit of the Kaiser and his wife Victoria in 1898. The structure was made from prefabricated panels at the carpentry workshops of the Yildiz Palace using boat-building techniques and has no nails. The Kaiser brought with him a set of colour-fast chemical dyes, a microscope and slides for the factory workers to study parasites that could damage the carpets to enable them improve on the production techniques. This charming guesthouse was fully restored in 2009.

Hereke Silk Fabric & Carpet Museum

The old Hereke factory is close to the landing stage of the Izmit ferries and now houses this small museum which exhibits a selection of silk carpets and brocade that include examples of patterns that can still be seen today at Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi Palace . They have preserved some of the old machinery used in silk production along with photographs of the factory during its prime.

Opening Hours

The museum opens weekdays from 10:00 to 12:00 and then 14:00 to 16:00 and is free of charge.

Getting to Hereke

The easiest way is from Haydarpasa station or you can take a bus from the Harem bus terminal to Körfez and then another from there to Hereke which does involve some backtracking. For those that want to travel onwards, there are daily ferries available to Izmit ( Kocaeli ) and Karamursel.

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