Hereke Silk Weaving and Carpet Factory
Hereke Factory, established in 1843, started production in 1845 under the name of Hereke Fabrika-i Hümâyûnu to meet the upholstery and drapery needs of the newly built palaces. Jacquard looms and designers were brought from France for Hereke Factory, the most comprehensive factory established by the Ottoman Empire for silk weaving. Hereke Factory started to produce carpets with one hundred new looms in 1891, which can be considered as a turning point in traditional Ottoman carpet weaving. Under Sultan Abdülhamid II’s (1876-1909) patronage, master craftsmen from Sivas, Ladik and Manisa brought in and production started. At first, patterns were given to the craftsmen by the palace, and then these patterns were later further developed to try to create an original Hereke style.
Carpet weaving units were added to the Hereke Factory, producing silk upholstery and drapery for the palaces, and the foundations of the world-renowned Hereke carpets were laid. It is known that there was a weaving workshop in the Dolmabahçe Palace known as Hereke Dokumahânesi at the time, working on behalf of the factory.
The most outstanding products of Hereke Factory were used in the decoration of palaces, pavilions and mansions as a mean to showcase Ottoman industry, as well as being given as gifts to foreign dynasty members, finding their way into European palaces. Being the most important institution of the Ottoman weaving industry, the Hereke Factory shaped the last period of the empire life with its products, becoming a prestigious brand in Europe shortly after its establishment. The factory was honored for its ribbons at the 1855 Paris International Exhibition, won the medal for silk weavings at the 1862 London International Exhibition, as well as winning the grand prizes at the 1892 Vienna, 1894 Lyon, 1910 Brussels and 1911 Turin exhibitions.
During the last years of the reign of Sultan Mehmed Reşad V (1909-1918), the Hereke Factory was gradually transformed into a woolen weaving factory, increasing the number of looms for broadcloth, serge and yarn from twenty to 52 and beginning high capacity production. Hereke Silk Weaving and Carpet Factory operated under Sümerbank during the republic period, assigning to the Directorate of National Palaces in 1995. The original Hereke fabric patterns have been identified with the studies carried out in collaboration with the National Palaces researchers in the factory, enabling the reproduction of the lost patterns and their use in the National Palaces. The wooden pavilion next to the factory is a prefabricated building that was built for the visit of German Emperor Wilhelm II. This structure is open to visitors as a museum-pavilion with its halls opening to the sea and land sides.