From the Buckingham Palace to Istanbul's Dolmabahçe Palace, anyone with an old carpet needing a good repair sends them to Sultanhanı, a small town in central Turkey with abundant experience in the business.
For decades, carpet-fixing has business thrived in the town located in the Aksaray province as repairers hand down experience to younger generations.
The artisans here are so good that invaluable, centuries-old rugs and carpets are sent to Sultanhanı for repair or restoration to their original form.
Sultanhanı Mayor Fahri Solak says the town is now Turkey's "carpet reparation hub." "Our masters are behind the renewal, repair of carpets and rugs from Washington Museum, Buckingham Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace. We have 1,000 masters in Sultanhanı and what they do is a great contribution to our country's economy," he told Demirören News Agency (DHA).
He heaps praise on the craftsman "who can even restore a carpet to its original state even if they have just one-third of the carpet." He says the craftsmen are versatile and work with any type of carpet, from Iranian rugs to French carpets.
İsmail Konukçu has been a carpet repairer for 25 years, working on handwoven carpets sent from everywhere, from the U.S. to Germany. "We restore it to its exact original state regardless of whatever form it was in when we receive it," he says.
Konukçu added that they first wash the item and identify the missing pieces before dyeing the wool and start the restoration project. "It takes sometimes one month to repair and in some cases, it takes about one year," Konukçu says, adding that they work on a very busy schedule.
Mahmut Ağır, another craftsman, who took up the job after finishing grade school, says he loves his work. "I am 43 years old and doing this with pleasure for years," he says. His only complaint is finding an apprentice. "We are having difficulties raising a new generation of masters although it is a very well-paying job," he says.