Originally founded by Anas' great-grandfather Mehdi Nahawendi (his father's maternal grandfather), the family established the Ajami Oriental Rug Gallery – the first-ever Oriental Rug and Carpet Gallery in Hamadiah Bazaar – originally built by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II, in the ancient city of Damascus in Syria, in 1910.
As a young man, having been encouraged to apprentice by his father – a Merchant trader along the Silk Road during the Ottoman Empire – and through Letters of Introduction, Mehdi travelled to Iran to begin the traditional eight-year rug apprenticeship. As a rug apprentice, Mehdi was set to learning the complex skills and expertise involved in the trading, cleaning and restoring of Oriental Carpets and Antique Rugs by renowned Masters in the rug and carpet field. After studying in Iran, Mehdi's Rug Craftsman apprenticeship continued in Turkey and then, what is known today as, Baluchstan and Turkmenistan.
Mehdi went on to blend his Master Rug Craftsmen skills and expertise with his family's invaluable merchant trading links, with tribal rug weaving families across the Central Asian plateau. Over time, Mehdi's reputation as a Rug and Carpet specialist 'par excellence' grew, and the Ajami Oriental Rug Gallery family business flourished.
Mehdi's passionate enthusiasm, success and rug expertise encouraged his three sons (including Anas's Great Uncle Kasim) and his four daughters to follow in his footsteps. All of whom became excellent rug traders, specialist restorers and rug cleaners in their own right. This new generation of Master Rug Crafts men and women saw the family's Oriental Carpet and Rug legacy spread worldwide, as their families in turn, travelled and settled in the US, Denmark, Lebanon, France and the UK. Mehdi also initially taught other willing apprentices, whose later generations became the senior oriental carpet dealers that you see in Damascus today.
Like his Grandfather Mehdi and his Uncle Kasim before him, Anas' father Suhil also choose to follow his passion for hand-woven rugs and carpets and complete the traditional eight-year Master Rug Craftsmen apprenticeship. He intially began his apprenticeship foundation with his Uncle Kasim at the family's Rug Gallery with its Restoration and Cleaning workshops, before travelling on to continue his specialist rug studies under the tutorlidge of Masters of the Craft across Central Asia.
Suhil, as well as being a highly respected Rug and Carpet Specialist and the current Ajami Rug Gallery Director, was previously a long-standing Middle East Chamber of Business and Commerce Merchant Member.