An important trading point along the mythical Silk Road from China, Sivas owed it's importance to many activities and products, apart from rugs. There were rail repair shops, bricks, cement, alfalfa, copper, and cotton and woolen textiles, although this part of Turkey was mostly agricultural, particularly in the production of cereal. Located on the high plains slightly east of the centre of the country, the highest city of the Central Anatolian Region, excavations show that Sivas dates from a time two thousand years before Christ, although there is little recorded history before the Roman period. First known as Megalopolis, it became Sebaste, and eventually Sivas, the Turkish equivalent.
Legend has it that the area around Sivas is also renowned for its dedication to the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, an important site for pilgrimage in honour of those forty Roman soldiers who were evidently sacrificed around 300 AD for being Christian.
Sivas is also renowned for its thermal springs, believed to be a potent cure for many illnesses. Its unique cuisine relies heavily on the use of yogurt in many soups and dishes.
Because of its unique location as the gateway between East and West, design influences vary widely, reflecting traces of Byzantine design from Central Asia, as well as Armenian, Caucasian and Kurdic tribes either living in, or migrating to Anatolia. Certain designs, dyes, colours, techniques and textures identify the Turkish rug, pulling from every part of what was originally the Ottoman Empire. Wool and cotton woven with the 'Turkish' knot prevail, ranging to the flat-weave (like Killim or Soumak), so popular in the West to designers of every ilk.
Most of the earliest fragments found were near to the Egyptian city of Cairo. These are today preserved in museums. The overall look is cheerful, with much detail. Fields are mostly geometric, and small in proportion to carpet size. There are hexagons with plain or hooked outlines, and squares filled with stars. The corners are not mitred, which means that the border design is cut off, and does not continue around the corner. The colours of blue, red, green, to a lesser extent also white, brown, yellow are subdued; frequently two shades of the same colour are opposed to each other.
A signed Sivas rug, clearly showing desirable 'abrash'.