Slightly hidden down one of the winding side streets of the Çukurcuma antique district of Istanbul, a four storey 19th century town house hosts the A la Turca antiques store. Listed on Google as a ‘rug shop’, A la Turca is slightly off the mark to say the least. The store features a glorious collection of Turkish antiques, which is probably the richest in Istanbul, and should not be missed.
A la Turca is owned by Erkal Aksoy, an expert and enthusiast who has created a store that seems much more like a private Ottoman residence filled to the brim with beautiful possessions than it does a shop. His staff are just as knowledgeable as he is, and a visit here can not help but become an education in Ottoman art history and craftsmanship, often accompanied by a glass of wine and sweet treat. There is no pressure to buy; the raison d’être of Aksoy’s store is to pass on appreciation of history and the pieces within to visitors and to ensure they enjoy their experience.
Even though A la Turca sells all kind of antique furniture and accessories, it is most well known for its rug and kilim collection. This explains why a whole floor of the house is dedicated to this art. There are more than 4000 carpets ranging in price from €800 to €18,000, and be sure that the staff know everything there is to know about each piece.
A whole day can easily be spent in A la Turca, no matter the extent of the customer’s knowledge of Ottoman antiques and art. Serious collectors are advised to call ahead to be sure to secure some of Aksoy’s time, which seems almost as valuable as the goods within.