Turkey’s Colorful Carpet Fields Bask in Summer SunFrom above, they may look like Dutch tulip fields. But these are Turkish carpets, laid out to bask in the summer sun.
Record-breaking temperatures have caused trouble across Europe this year. But in the Mediterranean Turkish province of Antalya, hot days, strong sunshine and humid nights are put to work, fading the vivid dyes of hand-woven rugs into the pastel colors preferred by many Western customers.
The summer sees tens of thousands of hand-woven rugs laid out in the fields, creating a remarkable patchwork of colors. It’s a method that has been used there for decades.
“The chemical dyes of the carpets that were woven 40 to 50 years ago were so bright that they exhaust your eyes,” Ibrahim Geyikoglu, deputy head of the Istanbul Carpet Exporters’ Union, said in a phone interview. (He has laid out his carpets as well.)
“The dye flies away,” he said. “The colors get more in harmony with each other.”
New carpets find a place in the sun if the customer prefers a more muted, artisanal-looking style. That’s often the case in the West.
The rugs are washed, dried and dusted, and then laid out in the sun, often by women or teenage boys working for daily rates of 60 lira (about $10). They wait about a month before taking the carpets from the fields and dusting them again.
Carpet layers have become experts on the technique; merchants simply tell them how much the colors should fade, then trust them to achieve the desired result.
This summer, according to Reuters, around 25,000 carpets from around the country were laid out across nearly 500 acres, under the sizzling sun.