Of the markets or bazaars we visited, the Arasta Bazaar was the loveliest. It’s a small and simple market consisting of about forty stores lined on both sides of a single lane, selling traditional artistry like carpets and ceramics. It’s right by the Blue Mosque, and used to be stables during the Ottoman period. There were fewer people at this bazaar and less salesmen trying to harass us, a great contrast to the craziness of the bigger bazaars. One store stood out from the crowd, Cocoon. The window display showed a number of interesting felt hats, which caught our attention. Inside the store, there were more felt hats, bags, textile, rugs and costumes. The store is small but all items were simply beautiful and eye-catching. Seref Ozen, the co-owner who is considered to be one of the foremost authorities in the world on Central Asian textiles (which we didn’t know at the time), told us that they had a bigger store down the street with more selection. So we went to the larger store, which is called Tribalchase, and is the gallery extension of Cocoon. Indeed, there was a much larger selection in this six-story building and everything was elegantly displayed like in a gallery. From small knit change purses to theater costumes, it was a treat for the eyes to see so many beautiful objects. The other co-owner, Mustafa Gokhan Demir, patiently walked us through the floors (even though it was 7pm, which during Ramadan is the time of the breaking of the fast). I was fascinated by all the felt products and their different textures. There was a piece of wrinkled fabric that I kept eyeing that looked like it was a made of silk but had the soft texture of cotton. It was so thin and delicate that I was surprised when Mustafa said it was also felt, thinly pressed. Both owners were kind and helpful. You could tell from the store and the gallery that they had superior taste and were authorities in their field. Mustafa also let us take a peek on the roof top terrace to survey the area. After all the flights of stairs we emerged to a lovely outdoor space with the most amazing view of the Blue Mosque at very close range. My recommendation would be to skip some of the crazier markets like the Grand and Egyptian Bazaars (go take a quick look just to know what they are about), and instead spend time at Cocoon and Tribalchase to study the multitude of beautiful artistry that they collect and sell.