Hagia Sophia’s carpet woven by Özkul Halı

Hagia Sophia’s carpet woven by Özkul Halı

Hagia Sophia’s carpet, which was reopened for worship this year, was woven by Özkul Halı, which pioneered the trend of exclusively customized mosque carpets in Turkey.

Symbol of the conquer, the Grand Mosque of Hagia Sophia was reopened for worship on July 24th. What company would weave the carpet of such an iconic building was the talk of the town for quite some time. The choice was made; it would be Özkul Halı to carry out such a divine mission. Color and design selection of the carpet of such a sacred monument was made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Behçet Özkul, a board member at Özkul Halı said the fluffs of the carpet were designed to lean towards qibla and that no carcinogen agents were used in the making. Underlying the fact that the material used on carpet was 100% wool and domestic, Özkul told us about their enthusing and emotional time course.

Özkul Halı Yönetim Kurulu Üyesi Behçet Özkul

To begin with, let’s hear Özkul Halı from you

I’m the 4th generation manager of Özkul Halı, which is one of the industrial enterprises, whose foundation dates far back, to 1912 by İbrahim Özkul to weave hand-made, wool carpets on wooden looms. Then came Mehmet Behçet Özkul, founder’s son, who bought Turkey’s first carpet weaving machine from German company,  Felix Tonnar in 1952. The objective was always to produce 100% pure wool carpets for residences. In the year 1960, Özkul Halı pioneered the production of customized mosque carpets with Sultan Ahmet Mosque, one of the most venerable places, commonly known as the Blue Mosque. Continually modernizing the machinery  through time, our company proudly serves venues such as djemevis, dormitories, Quran teaching schools and hotels where people congregate. Compatible to the criteria of Woolmark, globally recognized standards,  our products are anti-bacterial and non flammable apart from not involving nylon, acrylic or polyester ingredients in any form, whatsoever. Reactive dyestuff, used to color the yarn, has high purity of light and color without causing any sign of allergies, so much so that they are ecologically friendly and that they can be used in the making of children’s wear without any worries at all. In short, Özkul Halı is an integrated company where wool comes into the company from one entry and gets out from the other as carpet, if you will.

It’s your company that weaved the carpet of the Grand Hagia Sophia Mosque. Will you please tell us about all the way from the beginning to the completion of laying the carpet?

Iconic symbol of the conquer, Hagia Sophia mosque’s grand reopening for worship had been antipicipated long by all the muslim world. Subsequent to the verdict of the State Council, the process was initiated by the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s proclamation. Upon being officially convoked by government authorities to further and finalize the procedures both in İstanbul and Ankara, we got the production going full steam.

What specifications did you add on the carpet, exclusively unique to Hagia Sophia? Please tell us more about the direction of the fluffs, patterns and color selection.

We had an emotional and exciting rush at the company soon after we started production; no time limit for anyone at the company during production.  In no time did we produce the yarn and color it. We made the first phase of delivery on July 18th. There was no stoppage of delivery till the very morning of the opening. 8 people of our company kept laying the carpet for 6 days and the Grand Hagia Sophia Mosque was all set for the inauguration day at 9 a.m. on July 24th. We, as Özkul Halı, are proud that we kept our promise and that we are a part of such a historic event. We truly appreciate particularly our President and other government authorities in line for their trust with us. The carpet laid is unique, a top quality product in terms of all the details such as color, material and density. It’s 100% pure wool and domestically made. 1 sqm  of it weighs 5 kg, with the thickness of 16 mm. Additionally, the carpet features a characteristics, solely distinctive to itself; the fluffs of the carpet is designed to lean towards qibla with a second to none, steamrolling operation. Why we have chosen to put such a unique application on Hagia Sophia’s carpet is that color shading occurs on spots where knees touch. To be able to prevent it from happening, we have applied such a unique operation on the carpet.

In addition to all that, we preferred to apply reactive dye, rarely used in Turkey for the yarn. The dye is ecologically friendly and contains neither carcinogen agents nor allergens. The carpet is protected against viruses and bacteries as well as moths and bugs by Langsess Eulan SPA. The design on the carpet is a soft Ottoman motif which is called, ‘Rumi’ in art circles. It’s faint and it appears like a shade on the carpet. As for the color,  glossy green head of mallards was chosen personally by our President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

What about other grand mosques and projects that you completed ?

Özkul Halı has completed laying carpets in more than 48000 projects in and out of the country since 1960. Obviously, it’s not possible to mention all the projects, but some are worth mentioning: Fatih Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Şehzadebaşı Mosque, Eminönü Yeni Mosque, Eyüp Sultan Mosque,  Nuruosmaniye Mosque, Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque, Ortaköy Mosque, Rüstempaşa Mosque, Selimiye Mosque in Edirne,  Bursa Grand Mosque and Yeşil Mosque, Hacı Bayram-ı Veli Mosque, Turkish National Assembly Mosque in Ankara, Konya Mevlana Sultan Selim Mosque and Kapu Mosque. Some of the international projects that are worth mentioning are Tokyo Mosque in Japan, Şehitlik Mosque in Germany, Nur Astana Mosque in Kazakhstan, Sana’a The People’s Mosque (Formerly Al-Saleeh Mosque) in Yemen, Maryland Turkish American Association Mosque in the US, East London Mosque in England, Johannesburg Midrand Nizamiye Mosque and Sala’m Mosque in Oman. These are only a small portion of plenty of remarkable projects for which Özkul Halı was a solution partner with its 108 year expertise.

Having started operation in 1912, Özkul Halı has, since then, adopted the pioneering role in carpet making for grand scale floors using 100% wool. As the new generation managers of the company, we only have one principle: maintaining top quality production, regardless of anything to pass our family legacy on to forthcoming generations and remain to be the leading company globally.

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