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The carpet weaving art has been continuously practiced in Oushak since at least the mid-15th century. Oushak is situated on the Gediz River about 100 miles inland from the Turkish west coast. Smyrna is its port city. Oushak rugs were among the first oriental pile carpets to reach Europe, and for centuries they have appeared in Old Master paintings in both religious and secular scenes. Oushak carpets have always been purely commercial and no Ottoman court workshop was ever established in that town. Sultans, Vizirs and Pashas did, however, employ Oushaks, usually of the grandest scale, in their household decor. Large Oushaks, mostly from the 18th century, with rows of prayer niches (saphs) were employed in great numbers in mosques in Istanbul and other Turkish cities. Today they have mostly been cut up to provide collector items.