Hereke is located at the northern edge of Izmit Bay, near Istanbul. Sultan Abdulmecid, Ottoman Emperor, established the Hereke Imperial Factory in 1843 to produce carpets, fabric, upholstery and curtains exclusively for the Ottoman Court.
The establishment of the Hereke Imperial Factory by Sultan Abdulmecid coincided with the construction of Dolmabahçe Palace, in Istanbul.. A workshop was established on the grounds of Dolmabahçe Palace and staffed with Hereke weavers. The Hereke Imperial Factory and Hereke workshop at Dolmabahçe produced the magnificent carpets that decorate the palace. Over 140 large carpets and 115 prayer rugs were produced, totaling more than 48,000 square feet.
After completing work on the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Ottoman Sultans used to give Hereke carpets as gifts to selected visiting royalties, noblemen and statesmen. It was not until 1890 that some traders in Istanbul were allowed to sell some of the pieces made at Hereke. With the end of the Ottoman Empire the production of Hereke carpets was restricted until the middle of the 20th century when some master-weavers in Hereke began once more to produce the carpets in continuation of the tradition of the Ottoman Palace Carpets.
Hereke carpets typically are very large, palace sized carpets, and are made with wool on cotton, camel hair on cotton, silk on cotton as well as silk on silk, which are knotted in small sizes. The precision of their double knots (Turkish or Ghiordes knots), which allows the clear display of patterns, together with the colour combinations and the harmonious patterns have made them highly collectible. Today, Hereke carpets and rugs are still made with the traditional patterns of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I, as well as both traditional Anatolian and contemporary figurative patterns.