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The Middle East has some of the finest silk and wool carpets in the world, with this iconic woven artwork highly valued across the world. It makes sense, then, that the Middle East is also home to one of the most active rug-buying markets, with its beautiful creations revered for their craftsmanship, beauty and exceptional quality. Created with natural materials and dye brought together using special techniques passed down through generations, Abu Dhabi’s carpet offerings come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, China and Central Asia, with exquisite designs, gorgeous colours and impeccably crafted pieces available to buy.

Purchasing a carpet is a fascinating experience, and you’ll be amazed by the variety of types on show. To ensure you are buying the genuine article at a fair price, it’s a good idea to learn a bit more about carpets before making your final decision. Visit a few shops to get a feel for price, quality and traditional designs. As a very rough guide, the higher the number of knots per square inch, the higher the price and the better the quality. Silk is more expensive than wool, and rugs from Iran are generally more valuable than the equivalent from Turkey or Kashmir. Don’t forget to ask whether the carpet was made by machine or by hand; handmade carpets are never quite perfect and the pile is uneven, yet they are more valuable than their machine-made counterparts.

Carpet salesmen will happily offer advice and can usually be trusted; just don't feel pressured into buying something simply because the shop assistant has unrolled dozens of carpets for you. Most importantly, don't forget to bargain – it’s totally acceptable and often expected. A good starting point is the Carpet Souk at the port end of Mina Road.