Arak rugs are hand-woven Persian pieces made in Arak (formerly known as Sultanabad), the capital city of the province of Markaz, which sits on the high plateau of central Northwestern Iran. These carpets are beautiful and unique pieces that will enhance any room by means of lively colors and warm motifs in their patterns. The history of this town is very dated and its commercialized rug weaving industry dates back to the 17th century. Today Arak continues to produce semi-tribal or "village" rugs similar to those made in this part of Iran over two thousand years ago, although a lot of changes have been made to the designs. Therefore, most of the elements in the pattern of the rugs have a history and has been woven in carpets for thousands of years.
A very important rug-producing district in Iran, Arak (formerly known as Sultanabad) and its surrounding area is located in the Central Northwestern part of Iran, south of the province of Alborz and Qazvin, east of the province of Hamadan, southwest of the province of Tehran, north of the province of Lorestan and Isfahan and west of the province of Qum and in the province of Markazi. Arak, along with its many neighboring villages, produces countless quantities of handmade Persian rugs every year. The finished carpets are usually marketed in the town itself. Some major areas around Arak are known as the Mahallat, Ferahan, and Lilihan. Some neighboring towns and villages are: Malayer, Moshkabad, Mirabad, Seraband, Sarouk, Jozan, along with many other small Kurdish villages and settlements. There has been strong Kurdish influences on these people's style of weaving, and some traces of Turkish ancestry can also be seen. Arak is where The Manchester Firm of Ziegler's opened an office in 1883. Originally an importer of English goods, the firm soon realized the financial advantages of starting a carpet factory in this region to produce rugs to be marketed in Europe and the USA. It has been estimated that by the turn of the century, Ziegler controlled over 2500 looms at work in this district. The Mahallat produces a very high quality rug known as Mahal, and Sarough is also famous for producing exquisite pieces. Lilihans tend to look more tribal as do many rugs made in these surrounding villages. Ferahans are very recognized world over as a result of their high quality weave and rich history, and Serabands are very similar to Ferahans. Mirabad also produces a very high quality carpet, usually with an overall design, known as the Mir. All the rugs of this area are completely unique and one of a kind, but a striking resemblance can be seen within some of them. This entire area is very important and precious to the Persian rug community, and deserves the respect that it gets.
There are many different grades of rugs made in this region, ranging from medium to fine. All rugs however, are 100% handmade and authentic. The material used for the pile of the rugs is wool, with the colors being mainly vegetable dyes. The rugs are woven using asymmetrical Persian knots to tie each loop one by one. Although not uncommon in older or antique pieces, silk pile or silk foundation is rarely if ever seen here. There might be some cases where the rug has a pile of silk and wool blend. Cotton or goat hair is used for the foundation (more so cotton) and the wool of the rugs is hand spun usually from the weaver's own sheep. The Sarough is probably the most famous of all the rugs from this region and its quality is absolutely exceptional. The Mahal, Ferahan, Seraband, and Mir are also very high in quality, but that is not to say that the rugs from the other villages are inferior in quality. They as well are very durable and are capable of lasting an incredibly long period of time .