Prior to Arrival by lifemate

VIEWS: 115 PAGES: 34

									                                  Prior to Arrival
        Thank you for choosing Turkey. Know that we will try to do our best to make your stay as
pleasant as possible. We advice you to read this arrival guide very carefully, as it is necessary to
making your stay best.

         Before coming to Turkey, make sure that you have a valid passport and visa. Please send your
arrival note (N5-b form) to IAESTE Turkey National Committee in time. Also send us a copy of your
insurance policy and a recent photo of yourself. In most cases we will arrange your lodging and will
meet you when you arrive, so we also recommend you inform us about the place of your arrival to
Turkey and the exact date and time of your arrival, if possible please note the airline flight number.

        Passport and Visas:

        You have to apply for visa and work permit through your nearest Turkish Embassy or
Consulate to enter Turkey. It is very important that you apply as soon as you get your acceptance
papers from Turkey. Sometimes these procedures take more than one month to be completed.

        Visa Information:

       Please visit to learn detailed information about Turkish Embassies and
Consulates in your country and consular information.

      Type of Passport : Ordinary Passport
      Period of Visa Exemption : 3 Months
      Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji,
      Finland, France, Germany, Greece Grenada, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (only
      passports of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region), Iceland, Iran, Israel, Jamaica, Japan,
      Kenya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Monaco, Morocco, New Zealand, St.
      Lucia, St. Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad-Tobago,
      Tunisia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Uruguay, Vatican

      Type of Passport : Ordinary Passport
      Period of Visa Exemption : 2 Months
      Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia, Indonesia, Macedonia, Romania

      Type of Passport : Ordinary Passport
      Period of Visa Exemption : 1 Month
      Costa Rica, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, South Africa

      Type of Passport : Official Passports
      Period of Visa Exemption : 3 Months
      Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium,
      Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El
      Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Holland, Hong-
      Kong Special Administrative Region(only passports of Hong-Kong Special Administrative
      Region), Iceland, Iran, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,
      Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico (only diplomatic passports) Monaco,
      Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal (only diplomatic
      passports), Russia (only diplomatic passports), St. Lucia, St. Marino, Seychelles, Singapore,

     Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad-Tobago,
     Tunisia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vatikan

     Type of Passport : Official Passports
     Period of Visa Exemption : 2 Months
     Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Indonesia, Macedonia, Romania

     Type of Passport : Official Passports
     Period of Visa Exemption : 1 Month
     Bulgaria (only diplomatic passports) Costa Rica, Estonia (only diplomatic passports) , Hungary,
     Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia( only diplomatic passports), Maldives, Moldova, Mongolia,
     People's Republic of China, Philippines, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, Vietnam (only
     diplomatic passports), Yemen


     Type of Passport : Ordinary Passport
     Duration of Stay : 3 Months
     Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil,Canada, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain,
     United Kingdom, United States of America

     Type of Passport : Ordinary Passport
     Duration of Stay : 1 Month
     Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Hungary, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland,
     Russia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yugoslavia,

     Type of Passport : Ordinary Passport
     Duration of Stay : 15 Days


     You are obliged to obtain adequate insurance covering illness, accidents, disability,
death and personal liability before leaving your country. Foreign citizens should pay for the
mediccal assistance.

                                ABOUT TURKEY
        Due to its size and the diversity of its geographic features, Turkey sports a few different
climates. Northern Turkey (The Black Sea Region) is rainy all year with both mild winters and
summers. Southern Turkey (The Mediterranean Region) is the warmest part of Turkey with not-so-
cool winters and hot summers. The Aegean and Marmara Sea regions have climates similar to the
Mediterranean Region’s climate, but the summers aren’t as hot and the winters aren’t as mild.
Unfortunately, the coastal cities tend to be humid and hot in summer, causing some discomfort from
sweating. Trainees coming from hot but drier places might consider packing a few more shirts than
they consider enough.

        The inland regions of Anatolia have a harsher climate. Central Anatolia has hot, dry summers
and cold winters. The mountainous Eastern Anatolia has very long and cold winters, with brief but hot
summers and very short springs and autumns. The Southeastern Anatolia have rather mild winters
with hot summers.

        All of Turkey has some rainfall in any season and all regions see snow every year. Of course,
the amount varies with the region. However, you are unlikely to have an unpleasant surprise if you
don’t pack rain overalls. (Unless, maybe, you are coming to the Black Sea Region) The temperatures
are usually over 20 oC (68 oF), with extremes over 40 oC (104 oF) not unknown.

        Turkey is located on both Asia and Europe, covering Eastern Trachia and the Anatolian
Peninsula (Asia Minor). It also houses the two cities on Earth that are built on two continents: Istanbul
and Canakkale. It has sea coasts on three sides and an internal sea. The Black Sea forms the northern
border of Turkey, while the Aegean Sea bounds Turkey to the West and part of Southern Turkey
borders on the Mediterranean Sea. The Marmara Sea seperates the two continents. Turkey is neighbor
to Greece, Syria, Iraq, Georgia and Armenia, among several other countries.

Note: In some countries, the political map of Turkey and its neighbors is inaccurate and part of Turkey
        and Iraq are shown as Kurdistan. This is not true and such a state does not exist. The map on
        this site is correct. A gaff about this is unlikely to cause you any trouble, but people can be
        sensitive about this matter. (More importantly, it is just good to have correct knowledge. ☺ )

        Anatolia and Trachia’s have very important geographical functions as a link between Europe
and Asia, also as the only practical sea route between the Black Sea countries and the Mediterranean.
As a result, these two peninsulas have housed many important civilizations and countless states
through history, including the Hittites, Ionia (a series of advanced Greek colonies), Lykians, Lydians,
Trojans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans. This is why Turkey is so rich in historical artifacts and

        The history of modern Turkey is much shorter. After World War I, the already crumbling
Ottoman Empire was being invaded (and probably terminated.). In 1919, a soldier named Mustafa
Kemal (who later took the surname Ataturk) gathered the remnants of the Ottoman army and rallied
the people. A war of independence followed, and the State of Turkey was founded in 1921. In 1923,
Turkey became a republic and was renamed the Republic of Turkey.

       Turkey today has a population of more than 65 millions. These people form a cultural mosaic
embracing many ethnicities, religions and traditions.

        Almost all of the population is Muslim, but the state is secular, and people are not
discriminated because of their religion. Jewish and Christian religions have their own organisation in
Turkey, as well.

       Turkish is the official language of the state, and everybody in Turkey speaks it. In addition,
Kurdish and Arabic are spoken in some regions, but never used in business or government affairs.

        A majority of population is ethnically Turkish. However, there are many other (usually)
Anatolian originated ethnicities still living in Turkey; Kurds and Greeks (The ones living in Turkey or
Cyprus are called Rum) being only two of them. Although there is some friction between ethnicities
every now and then, most people will not judge others on this basis, and clashes are fortunately
occasional -and usually political. A last interesting point to is that the Turkish nation and the Turkish
race are two different things, and people of many ethinicites call themselves Turks since they are part
of the nation.

        As a foreigner, you shouldn’t worry about being discriminated for your religion, nationality,
ethnicity or anything else. Hospitality and tolerance are virtues Turkish people value, and even if an
individual has negative views about a religion or race, he/she will probably not judge someone out of
Turkey by these views.


       The Turkish language belongs to the Ural-Altaic group and has an affinity with the
Finno-Hungarian languages. Turkish is written in the Latin alphabet and is spoken by about
150 million people around the world.

       The Turkish language is spread over a large geographical area in Europe and Asia; it is
spoken in the Azeri, the Turkmen, the Tartar, the Uzbek, the Baskurti; the Hogay, the Kyrgyz,
the Kazakh, the Yakuti, the Guvas, the Kurdish and other dialects. The Turkish spoken in
Turkey represents that of the Turkish language group coming from the southwest branch of
the Uralic-Altaic language family. The oldest written records of Turkish are found upon stone
monuments in Central Asia, in the Orhun, Yenisey and Talas regions within the boundaries of
present day Mongolia, and belong to the years 725, 732 and 735 A.D. After the formation of
the Turkish Republic in 1923 and following the achievement of national unity, Latin alphabet
using Turkish phonetics was adopted in 1928 and the Arabic alphabet was abolished. To make
your stay easier, dive into a language course. In just a few lessons you will learn enough
Turkish words to make a big difference in your daily life here. It is important to add that
Turkish can be a difficult language to master both in grammar and in pronunciation. The
language is very phonetic and is read exactly the way it is written. Do not give up, for once
you get the hang of the verb conjugations and learn how to pronounce a clean "softened g" in
a word, you're on your way to chatting yourself silly!

        Turkish is very easy to read that since it is read as written. If you know the sounds of
the letters you can read but not understand!

         Turkey is the cradle of numerous cultural movements, be it religious teachings, music styles,
or architecture. Traditional Turkish art is in line with Middle Eastern culture, as the Ottoman culture
was affected by Persian and Islamic culture very deeply. In addition, original Turkish forms of art
have endured to this day. Modern Turkey’s cultural spectrum is very wide. Anything from this
traditional art to Beatles to Marilyn Manson has an audience.

        ‘Culture’ as the way people live their lives is something many foreigners are mistaken about.
If you are still expecting women in burkas and bearded men in loose trousers, you are in for a surprise.
Simply put, the overall look of a Turkish city is not very different from a European city. You will meet
many people willing to correct Turkey’s image in this regard.

        Here are a few laws which usually differ from country to country:

    •   Drinking alcohol in public places (except in alcohol serving establishments, of course) is
        illegal. There is a blood concentration limit for driving under the influence. (Police uses a
        breath analyser for this.)
    •   Narcotic substances are totally illegal in Turkey. We do hope for your own sake that you do
        not use drugs, but if there’s a law issue that makes your stay in Turkey longer than expected, it
        is this. (By the way, Midnight Express is... well, a total lie. Prisons in Turkey are not different
        than in elsewhere.)
    •   The minimum age to buy tobacco or alcohol, also to enter entertainment locales such as bars
        and clubs, is 18, so you will have no difficulties with age limits.
    •   Weapons are regulated by licenses. It will be impossible for you to carry a weapon legally.
    •   Smoking is forbidden in most public places, and there are heavy fines for violation. Most
        locations have smoking zones. It is free outdoors.

    İzmir is a major city in Turkey. It is the largest port on Turkey’s Aegean Coast, and a hub of
activity on the region.

   Ankara is the capital. The ministries, senate, armed forces headquarters, and similar high offices of
Turkish government are all in Ankara. It is located roughly in the middle of Turkey.

    Industry in Turkey
    Turkey is an agricultural country, and agriculture is an important activity in all parts of Turkey.
Accordingly, food and similar agriculture related industries in Turkey are important. There are many
companies producing sugar, vegetable oils, animal products, and various foodstuffs. Leather and
textiles are among Turkey’s most important industries (and exports).

    Turkey is also rich in natural resources. There are some petrol refineries in Turkey, the largest
being the Tüpraş refinery in İzmit, near İstanbul. Iron, copper, aluminum and other ores are mined and
processed. The iron and steel industry in Northern Anatolia is a major government enterprise. There is
also coal production, but Turkish coal is not of very good quality, which limits its usage. Another very
important mineral in Turkey is boron. The largest and best quality boron reserves are located in

Turkey. Turkey has developed its own technology on this field and there are a few plants currently in

    The automotive sector is large and growing. Several foreign corporations have production plants
in Turkey. Household applications, such as dishwashers etc are produced by many major companies
(some of them Turkish).

    Turkey’s electronic industry is focused on communications. Most ventures other than the military
oriented electronics producer Aselsan work more on setting up communications systems and stations,
rahter than manufacturing electronics.

   Construction is never a slow business in Turkey, since both the population and the industry always
grow. Construction and related industries (such as cement or paint) are always lively as a result.


        BY ROAD

Road Network: Turkey has an extensive network of well maintained roads linking its towns, cities,
and popular tourist areas. When arriving from Europe, the Bosphorus crossing to Asia has been greatly
facilitated by the completion of the Istanbul bypass and the two Bosphorus (Bogazici) bridges which
lead to the Istanbul - Ankara Expressway. The E80, E90 and Trans European Motorway (TEM) are the
three main roads leading to Turkey from European borders; they also link the Iranian and Iraqi
borders. These expressways have been constructed according to Asian and Middle East International
road network standards.

Buses: Travelling by bus is still the main form of transportation in Turkey. Every corner of Turkey
can be reached from the bus station, or Otogar as it is called here. It is a combined word of Oto,
meaning "car" and gar, coming from French word "gare" for station.
Tickets for almost all of the bus companies can be obtained at the main bus terminal. As there are so
many agencies at the main bus station, and so many bus companies, it can sometimes be confusing and
difficult to know which one to pick. All busses of serious companies are comfortable and air-
conditioned and you would be wise to seek out a well-known company and to pay the little bit extra to
ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.
It is forbidden for intercity buses to enter the city center therefore bus terminals are located near the
highway entrance of bigger cities. In order to reach these terminals you can use public transportation
vehicles. The well-known intercity bus companies have several service branches in the center. The
passengers are carried from these branches to terminals by the companies' minibuses.

Taxis and Dolmush: Taxis are numerous in all Turkish cities and are recognizable by their yellow
color and “ T license plated. The fare shown on the meter reads according to distance traveled. The
"dolmush," a special service found only in Turkey, is a collective taxi which follows specific routes
and is recognizable by its yellow band. They always have their destination written on the front. Each
passenger pays according to distance traveled and can get off at specific stops. Fares are posted,
usually above the drivers head, and you pass your money to the front. The change will also come back
hand to hand. The relatively cheap fares are fixed by the municipality. The "dolmush" provides a
service within large cities, to suburbs, airports, and often to neighboring towns. This is a very practical
means of transportation and much cheaper than a taxi.

        BY RAIL

The extensive network of the Turkish State Railways connects to most major cities. The trains have
couchettes, sleeping cars, restaurants, and lounge cars offering first and second-class service. There are
always rebates for students and the elderly.
In the Aegean region, it is possible for groups to charter a steam train, which has all the amenities for
trips with a route of your choice that allows you a more relaxed way of traveling through this beautiful
Train journeys can be made to İstanbul directly from and via some of the major cities in Europe. There
are two main train stations in Istanbul. For the European side you have to choose Sirkeci Train Station
(Tel: 212-527 00 50), and for the Asian side you have to choose Haydarpaşa Train Station (Tel: 216-
348 80 20). Both stations are very close to ports.
Cities with underground railway systems are Ankara, İstanbul, İzmir.

        BY AIR
         Domestic air transportation is provided by Turkish Airlines (THY) with an extensive network
of flights from the international airports of major cities to almost all other cities in Turkey.
International airline companies have their offices all around the country.
Turkish Airlines (THY) has regular flights on Boeing 737-400's, 735-500's, RJ 100's and Airbus 310-
200's, 310-300's and 340-300's from major cities in the world to Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya,
Adana, Trabzon and Dalaman. There are many other international airlines with direct flights to Turkey
from all over the world.
For timetables, prices and reductions, inquiries can be made at THY agencies.( There are bus connections to and from airports and city

        BY SEA
        Turkish Maritime Lines has several coastal services providing excellent opportunities for
traveling in Turkey.
        In addition to the numerous Mediterranean cruises, there are several foreign shipping
companies operating regular services to various ports in Turkey, plus car ferries for tourists wishing to
drive during their trip. There are connections between Venice, Ancona, Brindisi and Bari to Istanbul,
Izmir, Çesme, Kusadasi, Marmaris and Antalya, which are subject to change.
        For a detailed schedule; Turkish Maritime Authority

        BY CAR
Traffic circulation: Traffic circulates on the right and the Turkish Highway Code is similar to those
of European countries. Outside cities, traffic moves freely, the Istanbul - Ankara highway being the
only one on which traffic is heavy. There is a 50 km/h. speed limit in urban centers and a 90 km/h
limit outside urban centers.
Road Signs: Turkish road signs conform to the International Protocol on Road Signs.
Petrol: Filling stations are well distributed over all roads, and those on the main highways often have
attached service stations and restaurants, and are open round the clock. Unleaded fuel is available at
most stations.
Repairs: There are numerous repair garages in towns (grouped along special streets) and along
principal highways. Spare parts are readily available. Turkish mechanics are well trained in the repair
of both Turkish and foreign cars. In addition, assistance can be received from the Touring and
Automobile Club.
Rent-a-car services: There are many rent-a-car services in Turkey (addresses and prices can be
obtained from local Tourist information Offices or travel agents).
Railways:            total: 8,607 km
                     standard gauge: 8,607 km 1.435-m gauge (1,524 km electrified) (1999)
Highways:            total: 382,059 km
                     paved: 106,976 km (including 1,726 km of expressways)
                     unpaved: 275,083 km (1999 est.)
Waterways:           1,200 km (approximately)
Pipelines:           crude oil 1,738 km; petroleum products 2,321 km; natural gas 708 km
Ports and            Gemlik, Hopa, Iskenderun, Istanbul, Izmir, Kocaeli (Izmit), Icel (Mersin),
harbors:             Samsun, Trabzon
Merchant marine: total: 548 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,617,302 GRT/9,088,451 DWT
                 ships by type: bulk 140, cargo 242, chemical tanker 41, combination bulk 5,
                 combination ore/oil 6, container 21, liquefied gas 6, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum
                 tanker 43, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 25, short-sea passenger 10,
                 specialized tanker 5 (2000 est.)
Airports:            121 (2000 est.)

        FOOD & DRINK
        Regarded as one of the three most favorable cuisines of the world, Turkish cuisine has
superiority when compared to the cuisine of France and China. Exceptional richness of the various
meals, methods of cooking, arrangement of the table, service and equipments used bring the richness
in a way that never fail to to delight.

A meal out will usually start with a selection of mezes -- appetizers -- from an enormous and very
colorful platter brought to your table by the waiter. Cold mezes include stuffed mussels (midye
dolma), humus, pureed aubergine salad (patlican salatasi), stuffed vine leaves (yaprak dolma) and
Circassian chicken (cevizli tavuk). Among the selection of hot mezes are usually borek, (thin layers of
flaky pastry stuffed with cheese, meat or spinach), sautéed lamb's liver with onions and kalamari.

         Main Courses
Main courses are generally fish or meat kebabs, though this word is used in a much wider sense than
generally understood in the West. The spices and herbs used to delicately flavor the meat vary from
region to region. Typical kebaps include lamb "shish"; spicy Adana kebap, a spicy narrow sausage
made of ground lamb; döner kebap, slices of lamb cooked on a vertical revolving spit; patlican kebap,
slices of eggplant and lamb grilled on a skewer; and the artery-clogging Iskender kebap, layers of pide,
tomatoes, yogurt, and thinly sliced lamb drenched in melted butter. Turks are equally nationalistic
over their köfte, Turkey's answer to the hamburger: flat or round little meatballs served with slices of
tomato and whole green chili peppers. Guvec dishes are delicious casseroles cooked in earthenware
pots. Et sote, a kind of goulash, is very good, as is Saç kavurma. Saç kavurma represents a class of
casseroles sautéed or roasted in an earthenware dish that, with the help of an ample amount of velvety
Turkish olive oil, brings to life the flavors of ingredients like potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant,
and beef chunks. No self-respecting gourmand should leave Turkey without having had a plate of
manti, a meat-filled ravioli, dumpling, or kreplach, adapted to the local palate by adding a garlic and
yogurt sauce. Pide is yet another interpretation of pizza made up of fluffy oven-baked bread topped
with a variety of ingredients and sliced in strips. Lahmacun is another version of the pizza, only this
time the bread is as thin as a crêpe and lightly covered with chopped onions, lamb, and tomatoes.

Desserts fall into two categories: baklava and milk-based. Baklava, a type of dessert made of thin
layers of pastry dough soaked in syrup, is a sugary sweet bomb best enjoyed around tea time, although
several varieties are made so light and fluffy that you'll be tempted to top off dinner with a sampling.
The milk-based desserts have no eggs or butter and are a guilt-free pick-me-up in the late afternoon
hours, although there's no bad time to treat yourself to some creamy sütlaç (rice pudding). The
sprinkling of pistachio bits is a liberal addition to these and many a Turkish dessert, while comfort
food includes the irmik helva, a delicious yet simple family tradition of modestly sweet semolina, pine
nuts, milk, and butter.
So what's the deal with Turkish Delight? Otherwise known as lokum, this sweet candy is made of
cornstarch, nuts, syrup, and an endless variety of flavorings to form a skwooshy tidbit whose appeal
seems to be more in the gift-giving than on its own merit.

Turkish breakfasts are dominated by freshly baked bread, eaten with salty white cheese, olives,
tomatoes, cucumbers, butter, honey, jam, and often a boiled egg. Deliciously creamy yoghurt is an
optional extra. Other breakfast alternatives include pastry shops which serve a variety of flaky pastries
with cheese or meat fillings
Regional Specialties
As you visit different areas of Turkey, there are local specialties which must be eaten in their home
region to be fully appreciated. Thus Kanlica in Istanbul is famous for its yoghurt, Bursa for its
Iskendar Kebab, Gaziantep for its pistachio nuts, the Black Sea for hamsi (fried anchovies) and corn
bread and the Syrian borderlands (Urfa and Adana) for spicy shish kebabs.

Turkey produces some excellent dry wines, both red and white, which go well with a variety of foods.
Names to look out for include Villa Doluca, Kavakladere Cankaya, Yakut and Dikmen. Efes and
Tuborg beers are almost always the only beers available, and both are good.
There are two national drinks: raki and ayran. Raki is an alcoholic drink distilled from raisins and then
redistilled with aniseed. Even when diluted with water, this "lion's milk" still packs a punch, so drink
responsibly! Raki is enjoyed everywhere, but is particularly complementary to a meal of mezes.
Ayran is a refreshing beverage made by diluting yogurt with water. Westerners more accustomed to a
sweet-tasting yogurt drink may at first be put off by the saltiness of ayran, but when mentally
prepared, it's impossible to dismiss the advantages of this concoction, especially after a dehydrating
afternoon trudging through shade less, dusty ruins.
Boza and sahlep are popular drinks in winter. The former is made from mildly fermented millet and
tastes rather like eggnog. Sahlep, on the other hand, is served hot on ferry boats and other public
places and is made from the pulverized tubers of the wild orchid. It is very sweet and comes sprinkled
with cinnamon, and is the perfect companion on a cold winter’s day.

        The currency of Turkey is the lira, abbreviated TL, with coins of 10,000, 25,000 and
50,000TL. Banknotes in circulation are 250,000, 500,000, 1,000,000, 5,000,000, 10,000,000, and
20,000,000TL. The most convenient way to get money in Turkey is by using your home bank cash
card or credit card in a Turkish ATM (cash machine). But if you want to exchange cash, plenty of
places will do it for you.
                 Currency Exchange Office (Döviz Bürosu): these places are found anywhere
        tourists congregate or pass by. They offer better exchange rates than most banks, and may or
        may not charge a commission (komisyon). Shop around for the best rate and the lowest (or no)
                 Post Office (PTT): Most post offices will exchange cash US dollars or Euros, and the
        bigger post offices may also exchange other major currencies.
                 Bank (Banka): these have the worst rates, the biggest commissions and the most
        cumbersome procedures, but may be willing to exchange currencies lesser known than the US
        dollar, Euro, Sterling, and Yen.

The exchange rates for TL

Foreign Exchange                                    Bid                      Ask
American Dollar                                     1,646,500                1,647,000
Swiss Frank                                         1,180,500                1,190,000
French Frank                                        266,800                  269,500
Holland Florin                                      791,000                  800,400
English Sterlin                                     2,548,500                2,568,000
Italian Lira                                        90,400                   91,300
Austrian Schillings                                 127,150                  128,500
Japanese Yen                                        13,650                   13,800
Australian Dollar                                   980,800                  991,300
Danish Kroner                                       235,850                  237,800
Swedish Krona                                       191,450                  193,000
Canadian Dollar                                     1,110,500                1,123,000
Norwegian Kroner                                    225,000                  226,750
Saudi Arabian Riyal                                 436,850                  440,000
Belgian Frank                                       43,400                   43,800
Finnish Markka                                      294,350                  297,000

        You can use your major credit card to pay for most purchases: hotel rooms, rental cars, auto
fuel (gasoline/petrol), airline tickets, fancy dinners, and the more substantial souvenirs.
Shops in Turkey are open all days from 8.00 until 20.00 expect Sunday. Banking hours 9.00-17.00 (or
8.00-16.00) on working days.
There are several shops and fashion boutiques at different malls in several cities. Galleria Atakoy,
Akmerkez, Capitol in Istanbul, Karum and Atakule in Ankara, Oasis in Bodrum are some of these
shopping malls. In these malls you can easily find modern shopping items at very attractive rates
besides well-known brands from fashion centers of the world.
        Shopping is very easy since you can use all major credit cards, if you do not wish to pay cash.
Many shopkeepers and other staff in retail shops speak English and they are attentive and willing to
show and introduce their goods. Shopping in Turkey is a part of a great vacation.

         Many people come to Istanbul for the shopping alone. The Kapali Carsisi, or Covered Market,
is the logical place to start as the area and variety is immense. Still the commercial centre of the old
city, the bazaar is the original shopping “mall” with a vast selection of carpets, souvenirs, clothes,
shoes, jewellery and handicrafts made from ceramics, copper and brass. Many shops have recently
sprung up around Aksaray selling leather, suede and fur coats, catering mainly for Russian and Eastern
European buyers. The Misir Carsisi is good for picking up spices, locum, flavoured teas and small
souvenirs. (See section on Bazaars.)

        Sultanahmet has become another shopping mecca in the old city mainly because it has the
highest concentration of tourist attractions. The Istanbul Sanatlari Carsisi (Bazaar of Istanbul Arts) in
the 18th century Mehmet Efendi Medresesi, and the nearby 16th-century Caferaga Medrese, built by
Sinan, offer you the chance to see craftsmen at work and to purchase their wares. In the Arasta (old
bazaar) of the Sultanahmet Mosque, a thriving shopping arcade selling carpets, jewellery and local arts
makes both shopping and sightseeing very convenient. There are many carpet shops in this area, and
the chances are that sooner or later you will be approached by one of many dealers to visit his shop.

        The sophisticated shops of in the Taksim and Nisantasi districts contrast with the chaos of the
bazaars. Istiklal Caddesi and Cumhuriyet Caddesi have shops selling elegant fashionwear made from
Turkey's high quality textiles. Exquisite jewellery, as well as finely designed handbags and shoes can
also be found. Nisantasi is the main area for clothes by top Turkish designers.

        For an even more modern, European shopping experience, the huge new malls of the Atakoy
Galleria Mall in Atakoy, the Akmerkez Mall in Etiler and the Carousel Mall in Bakirkoy have have
European outlets, Turkish fashion shops, as well as restaurants and a cinema. have branches of
Istanbul's most elegant shops. In Bakirkoy, the Carousel Mall is worth a visit, as is the Atlas Passage
in Beyoglu. Bahariye Avenue, Bagdat Avenue,and Capitol Mall on the Asian side, offer the same
shopping opportunities.

         In Istanbul's busy flea markets there is an astonishing assortment of goods, both old and new.
There is a daily opportunity to poke about the Sahaflar Carsisi and Cinaralti in the Beyazit areas. On
Sundays, in a flea market between the Sahaflar and the Covered Bazaar, vendors uncover their wares
on carts and blankets. The Horhor Carsisi is a collection of shops selling furniture of varying age and
quality. Flea markets are open daily in the Topkapi district, on Cukurcuma Sokak in Cihangir, on
Buyuk Hamam Sokak in Uskudar, in the Kadikoy Carsi Duragi area, and between Eminonu and
Tahtakale. After a Sunday drive up the Bosphorus, stop between Buyukdere and Sariyer to wander
through another lively market.


         Ankara's shopping centres are clustered around Ulus, Kizilay and Kavaklidere. One popular
place for visitors is the Cikrikcilar Yokusu and its shops, near Ulus. Around the castle in Ulus, in the
area of Cikrikcilar Yokusu and Samanpazari, there are shops which sell traditional handicrafts such as
textiles, copper, ceramics, wickerwork and leather, as well as a variety of jewellery, decorations, gift
items and all types of antiques.

        In the Bakircilar Market, there is a wide selection of goods on offer like souvenirs, antiques
and clothes as well as copperware and jewellery. At the end of the ascent to the castle is a small bazaar
with stands selling spices, dried fruit and nuts and other products.

      Most of the modern shopping centres are in Kizilay, Tunali Hilmi Street and at Atakule in
Cankaya. The 125m Atakule dominates the city landscape and from the revolving restaurant there is a

breathtaking view of Ankara. The most elite department stores in Turkey are in the Karum Mall in
Kavaklidere, as well as top restaurants.

         The busiest shopping area is the Kemeralti Streets, which still retain a 19th century
atmosphere of pull-down shutters, thresholds of the doors, low ceilings and old briquettes. On both
sides of Anafartalar Caddesi is the lively atmosphere of the street vendors, bronze workers and
fishermen, and Fevzipasa Bulvari which is famous for its leather garments. In contrast to the
traditional and busy old market, Alsacak has modern boutiques and Cankaya has a huge shopping
centre much.


New Year’s Day                                                          January 1
Kurban Bayrami (Sacrifice Holiday)                                      February 21-25
Milli Egemenlik ve Cocuk Bayrami (National Sovereignty and              April 23
Children's Day)
Ataturk'u Anma, Genclik ve Spor Bayrami (Ataturk Memorial, Youth May 19
and Sports Day)
Zafer Bayrami (Victory Day)                                             August 30
Turkish Independence Day                                                October 29
Ramazan Bayrami (Ramadan Holiday)                                       November 25-27

                            ABOUT ISTANBUL
         "There, God and human, nature and art are together, they have created such a perfect
place that it is valuable to see." Lamartine’s famous poetic line reveals his love for Istanbul,
describing the embracing of two continents, with one arm reaching out to Asia and the other
to Europe.
         Istanbul, once known as the capital of capital cities, has many unique features. It is the
only city in the world to straddle two continents, and the only one to have been a capital
during two consecutive empires - Christian and Islamic. Once capital of the Ottoman Empire,
Istanbul still remains the commercial, historical and cultural pulse of Turkey, and its beauty
lies in its ability to embrace its contradictions. Ancient and modern, religious and secular,
Asia and Europe, mystical and earthly all co-exist here.
         Its variety is one of Istanbul’s greatest attractions: The ancient mosques, palaces,
museums and bazaars reflect its diverse history. The thriving shopping area of Taksim buzzes
with life and entertainment. And the serene beauty of the Bosphorus, Princes Islands and
parks bring a touch of peace to the otherwise chaotic metropolis.

       Geographical Location

        The main reason of Istanbul’s being a very popular city for which wars are made, lives
are lost is its geographical location...
        Let’s review this location first: In its south stretches Marmara Sea and in its north is
Black Sea. Its west part is in Europe and east part is in Asia. The important waterline dividing
Istanbul into two is the Bosphorus… The only alternative to reach the Aegean Sea and the
Meditteranean Sea, therefore to open sea is to use Istanbul and the the Bosphorus…
Istanbul is both the nearest Asian city to Europe and the nearest European city to Asia. What
adds to Istanbul’s significance is its being a port city and all trade paths’ passing through the
city for thousands of years…
        Another important feature of Istanbul is that it has a highly sheltered structure.
Especially the center which is presently called as the “historical peninsula”, which was made
capital city by both Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and its being located on a hill surrounded
by three seas made it almost impossible to be conquered… Indeed, Haliç had the quality of
being an unparalleled harbour sheltering navy fleets.

        It is not possible to put into one type the climate of region where Istanbul is
completely located. The city has different climate conditions from many areas of inhabitance
because of its geographical location and physical geography.
         Three types of climate is dominant in Istanbul throughout the year. These are north
and south entering climates and mild climate. The climates dependent on west and east
directional winds are trivial. The most frequent of the three is the climate observed when
northern winds are dominant. There are four phases according to the seasons; cold, hot, and
two transitional phases: One of which is long and the other is short…

       The average temperatures in Istanbul broken down to months is as follows:

             Jan   Feb    Mar Apr       May Jun       Jul   Aug Sept Oct         Nov Dec

             5°C 6°C 7°C 12°C 16°C 21°C 23°C 23°C 20°C 16°C 12°C 8°C
             41°F 43°F 45°F 54°F 61°F 70°F 73°F 73°F 68°F 61°F 54°F 46°F
             9°C 7°C 8°C 11°C 15°C 20°C 23°C 23°C 21°C 17°C 14°C 11°C
             48°F 45°F 46°F 52°F 59°F 68°F 73°F 73°F 70°F 63°F 57°F 52°F


        As well as being a capital to three empires, Istanbul is one of the very few cities which
is able to maintain its quality of being an economical center. Indeed, although not serving as
capital to the new republic declared in 1923, it kept its economically central position and
never lost this power to determine the fate of the country.
        The population of Istanbul, which was 1 million 78 thousand people in 1945,
increased to 1 million and 533 thousand with the growth after 1950 and in the following
periods, became 7 million 309 thousand in 1990 with an annual increase of 40-50 per
thousand, and 9 million 199 thousand in 1997, and became a city with over 10 million people
according to the census in 2000. If we briefly look at the economy and business life of the
city, the share of Istanbul in the Turkey’s gross national product is 23 percent. Annual
contribution of Istanbul to state budget is 40 percent, but in return the share it receives from
the state expenditures is around 7-8 percent. The headquarters of all private banks and 21
percent of total bank branches in Turkey are located in Istanbul.

       Export and import gate

        Istanbul has a central importance in both domestic and international trade. The added
value created in Istanbul, reaches 26.5 percent of provincial total added value and trade is the
second most important sector in Istanbul after industry. In Turkey, 27 percent of the general
added value created in commercial sector is created by Istanbul.
Istanbul is at the same time the most important export and import gate of Turkey. The export
of Istanbul makes up 46 percent of Turkey total and the import of Istanbul makes up 40
percent of Turkey total. Istanbul has at hand a great chance thanks to its being center of
tourism and a congress. Five star hotels own one-fourth of the hotel capacity and four-star
hotels own almost one-fifth.
         Istanbul is also the center of country’s air transport. Along with Atatürk Airport,
Pendik Sabiha Gökçen airport on the Anatolian side is serving Istanbul…
14 out of 153 museums in Turkey is located in Istanbul and 34 percent of the 2 million 400
thousand pieces on display is being exhibited in Istanbul…

       İstanbul by numbers

Surface Area                                       : 5.512 km²

Population                                         : 10.041.477(according to year 2000 census)

Population Density (person/km²)                    : 1.822

Number of Mosques                                  : 2.562

Number of Churches                                 : 40

Number of Synagogues                              : 16

Number of Motor Vehicles                          : 1.152.817

Number of Primary Schools                         : 1.488

Number of Secondary Schools                       : 611

Number of Universities                            : 20

Number of Hospitals                               : 196

Number of Chemists                                : 3.852

Visitor Entries                                   : 1.725.175

Number of Tourist Enterprising Licensed           : 254
Accommodation Facilities

Number of Tourist Enterprising Licensed           : 349
Entertaining Facilities

Contribution to the budget                        : 6.454.947 billion TL.

Share in Turkish Gross National Product           : 23 percent

Share in Collected Deposits of Turkey             : 35 percent

       Arrıval To İstanbul
       By Road
       Not surprisingly, Istanbul is well connected to every part of Turkey. Buses are
frequent and plentiful, and the main coach station (otogar) is at Esenler, on the European side.
There are countless independent bus companies, all of whom have a ticket office at the station
and the larger ones have offices dotted around town, especially in areas like Taksim,
Sultanahmed and Besiktas.

       Prices vary slightly regarding quality of the vehicle. There are also departures from
Harem, on the Asian side. For journeys further afield, there buses to Greece, Macedonia,
Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Russia, Georgia, Romania,
Bulgaria and Jordan. (Bus Station Tel: (+ 90 212) 658 05 05, 658 10 10, 333 37 63, 310 63

       By Rail

        Not as popular a mode of transport as buses, with a much smaller network, there are
rail connections from Istanbul to Ankara, Izmir and Eastern Anatolian cities. Most of the
services are slower than buses, although between the three main cities there are the mavi tren,
mototren or ekspresi, which are fast and comfortable.

        Reservations are essential for these journeys, and there are several classes of seats and
sleepers. International services from Sirkeci (on the European side) and Haydarpasa (Asian
side) stations include Vienna, Munich, Budapest, Salonica, (via Eskisehir, Konya, and
Gaziantep), Aleppo, (via Tatvan and Van), Tehran, Moscow and Bucharest. Trains heading
west leave from Sirkeci, and east from Haydarpasa station.

       Useful contacts:

       Sirkeci İnformation Tel: (0212) 527 0050/51. Reservations Tel: (0212) 520 6575
       Haydarpasa İnformation Tel: (0216) 336 0475/2063. Reservations Tel: (0216) 336
       4470, 337 8724.)

       By Boat

       Maritime Lines run both the urban and national transport. Marinas also have
connections with European ports.
       Urban Maritime Transportation runs ships which operate between the following
destinations within Istanbul: Kadikoy – Haydarpasa – Karakoy; Eminonu – Uskudar;
Eminonu – Kadikoy; Bridge – Yenikoy; Beykoz – Kavaklar; Sirkeci - Bostanci, Bridge –
Prince’s Islands; Bridge – Yalova; Kabatas – Cinarcik; Bostanci - Cinarcik.
Boats operate from Istanbul to the following Black Sea towns: Zonguldak, Sinop, Samsun,
Giresun, Trabzon, Rize, as well as Izmir. Marmara Lines run to Marmara Island, Bandirma
and Mudanya.

       Useful contacts:

       Port Tel : (+90 - 212) 245 53 66/249 71 78/249 18 96.
       Address: TDY Maritime Lines Agency, Rihtim Cad. Kadikoy, Istanbul
       Head Office Tel: (+ 90 - 212) 245 53 66/249 71 78/249 18 96.
       Reservation Tel: (+ 90 - 212) 249 92 22/293 74 54
       Information Tel: (+ 90 - 212) 244 25 02/244 02 07

       By Air

        Ataturk International Airport is 20 km from city centre. The new airport is the biggest
in the country, with the most international flights. There are direct flights to every European
capital, and many to Asia, USA and the Middle East.
        The domestic terminal has flights to every domestic airport in the country, with several
a day to major cities like Ankara and Izmir. Turkish Airlines (THY) is the national carrier.

       Useful contacts:

       Airport Tel : (0212) 663 64 00/663 63 00/663 63 71/663 63 72/663 63 73/663 63 74
       /663 63 75.
       Ataturk Airport DHM Organization: (0212) 663 64 00
       THY Head Office: (0212) 663 63 00 71 (5 Lines)
       THY Reservations: (0212) 663 63 63
       Domestic flights: (0212) 663 63 00
       International flights: (0212) 663 63 00
       Cargo Reservation: (0212) 663 63 00

       Public Transportation in Istanbul
       Istanbul, which is a growing and crowded city with many impressive aspects, has
       various alternatives for public transportation, and its transportation system is
       undergoing rapid modernization. Some of these alternatives are public taxis(shared
       taxi), buses, taxis and underground system.

       Transportation in İstanbul
       Public taxis

       Public taxi means that a group of passengers are carried on specific routes and charged
according to the number of stops(distance) travelled. These are usually minibuses. Using
them is the easiest way since they are faster and offer a price cheaper than a taxi but more
expensive than a bus. Public taxis are present on only specific routes.

       Useful words
       ‘İnecek var’- There is somebody to get off.


        Buses are cheaper than public taxis, and they have a wide network reaching to every
important point in İstanbul. They can be very crowded in rush hours. There are two types of
buses; municipally run buses (Belediye otobüsü) and buses that are run by private firms (Halk
otobüsü). There are different ways to pay for the fee of the bus, for each type of bus. In
municipally run buses (Belediye otobüsü), tickets and and electronical system called AKBIL
is valid. The tickets are bought in advance from bus station ticket offices or newspaper stands
around the bus stations. The ticket needs to be deposited next to the driver on boarding and
costs about 0.60 $ each. AKBIL is a smart card system and has a refillable battery. It is
bought from major bus stops. Several number of trips are prepaid and there are some
discounts. In privately run buses (Halk otobüsü), tickets are not accepted. The fare is paid
either by using cash or AKBIL. AKBIL is used in all busses, municipally run sea buses,
underground(metro) and tunnel systems.

Underground system – Light railway system

       Underground system is convenient and time saving. The route consists of a short line
extending from Taksim to 4. Levent. There are also two lines of light railway system; one
between from Eminonu to Zeytinburnu, another line between Aksaray and Yenibosna. The
present line of light railway running between Aksaray-Yenibosna is legthened to Ataturk
International Airport. This route is connected to Taksim by 83MT AKSARAY(METRO)-
TAKSIM busses departing from Aksaray and heading to Taksim.


        Taxis are quite expensive related to other transportation alternatives. They can be an
alternative, when there is no choice, after the last bus has left.

       Useful words
       ‘Sağa dönün’- Turn right.
       ‘Sola dönün’- Turn left.

       ‘Burada ineceğim.’- I want to get off here.

       Accommodation in İstanbul

        Accommodation in Istanbul will be in Gümüssuyu Dormitory of Istanbul Technical
University (I.T.U Gümüssuyu Erkek Ögrenci Yurdu) which is available for the summer
trainees. The dormitory is located in Taksim, next to Mechanical Engineering Faculty of
I.T.U. Since the dormitory is in the city center, transportation to anywhere is so easy and you
can easily find restaurants and shops around. Taksim is a nice place to sightsee and it becomes
the center of cultural and culinary activities at nights.

       Accommodation in Ankara

       Lodging will be provided within the dormitories of Middle East Technical University
(ODTU). Since it is very easy to go ODTU from Esenboga International Airport you will not
be met. From Esenboga International Airport you should take a shuttle of HAVAS to the bus
terminal ASTI. From ASTI you should take a taxi to ODTU( Ortadogu Teknik Universitesi).
The whole trip from airport to ODTU takes 45 minutes and costs not more then 8 USD. You
should contact with the local IAESTE Committee and give your arrival and departure
information (date, hour) in order for them to arrange lodging and meet you at the ODTU
Campus on the day you arrive. You are going to have the rights to use all the facilities of the
ODTU Campus (swimming pool, tennis courts, football and basketball fields) with the private
permission taken by the local IAESTE Committee.

       Accommodation in Izmir
       Places for accommodation provided for the students vary. Prior to your arrival you
should contact with local IAESTE representatives.

       Shopping in İstanbul
       Shopping in Istanbul is often a huge part of any visit, and the city’s famous historical
bazaars offer a wonderful insight into city life. Whether shopping for carpets, spices,
vegetables or clothes, the process of making your purchase is likely to be enhanced by the
atmosphere of wandering through the crowded stalls - and of course haggling. As usual when
bargaining with persuasive shop owners, have an idea of a good price before you start.

                                 Kapalı Carşı (Covered Bazaar)

                                 The oldest and biggest closed bazaar in the world, also
                          known as the Grand Bazaar, has around 4000 shops and over 60
                          alleyway, covering a huge labyrinth in the city centre. The original
                          two structures, covered with a series of domes and remains of the
                          15th century walls, became a shopping area by covering the
                          surrounding streets and adding to it over the following centuries. In
                          Ottoman times this was the centre of trading, and a vital area of

town. The Sandal Bedesten was added during Suleyman’s reign, to cope with the rising trade
in fabrics, during the 16th century.
          Traditionally the more valuable goods were in the old central area, called Ic Bedesten,
because it was more secure. As quite typical of the area, most streets are laid out and devoted
to a particular trade, for example gold on Kuyumcular Caddesi, leather on Bodrum Han, and
shoes on Kavaflar Sokak. But the trade has also spilled out onto the surrounding streets, and it
is very common to see Russian traders buying up huge sacks of leather jackets or shoes
outside the main entrance. Even the streets leading to the Golden Horn are lined with outdoor
stalls, which have traditionally been controlled by strict trading laws to reduce competition
between traders.
          Apart from the usual shops selling clothes, textiles, jewellry and carpets, there are
small workshops where craftsmen cast and beat silver or brass, in a skilled trade handed down
through the generations. If all that shopping, bargaining and fending off persuasive salesmen
is a little too tiring, there are also traditional cafes dotted inside the bazaar in which to relax,
eat and sip tea. There are also money-changing booths inside and out. It is slightly less
crowded during weekdays, as most locals shop at weekends.

               Mısır Çarşısı (Egyptian Bazaar)

        Also known as the Spice Market, this is Istanbul’s second bazaar, constructed in the
same complex as Yeni Camii (or New Mosque). There are six gates, which make it an
attractive exterior. The L-shaped market, together with the mosque, were built for the mother
of Mehmet IV, a powerful woman who ruled the harem and, some would say, much of the

Although no longer the prime spice trading area of the city, there is still the aroma of ginger,
cardamom, pepper and saffron from the piles of spices sold from many stalls. These days it is
also popular for great varieties of lokum (turkish delight), small souvenirs, flavoured teas and
local delicacies – including the dubious sounding “Turkish Viagra”. Locals come here to shop
for bed linen and towels, as well as for fruit and vegetables, coffee, clothes, pots and pans in
the surrounding cramped backstreets. Outside the market on the Galata Bridge end, is this is
the best place to choose olives from huge barrels, and many varieties of beyaz penir (white
                Bakırcılar (Copper Smiths) Bazaar

        Lesser known and smaller, but nonetheless just as interesting is this market in Beyazit,
under the north and east walls of Istanbul University. Copper is beaten and produced into
many shapes, sizes and forms, and shops sell cauldrons, saucepans, buckets, candlesticks and
the like.
               Bit Pazarları (Flea Markets)

       Away from the classical, historical markets which have always attracted tourists, there
are many flea and street markets around the city, usually consisting of streets of junk shops.
As usual, getting a real quality bargain is often down to luck, but it is still an interesting way
to shop.

       Cukurcuma Sokak is the central point of streets of shops selling old wooden furniture,
antiques, and books, near the Galatasaray Hamam off Istiklal Caddesi. Uskudar’s Bit Pazari is
on Buyuk Hama Sokak, and in Kadikoy, Ozelli Sokak sells mainly furniture. Horhor market,
behind Aksaray mosque, is famous for antiques, selling rare Ottoman furniture. The Entel, or

Intellectual Market in Ortakoy sells arts, craft and antiques, music cassettes and books, and is
open every Sunday and usually very crowded. Besiktas Pazar is open every Sunday, a warren
of streets near Sair Nedim Caddesi, sells bargain clothes. Terkoz Cikmaz, next to the
Pasabahce glass store off Istiklal Caddesi, has bargain designer clothes, factory seconds or
overruns from France, England and Germany at rock-bottom prices. Sahaflar Carsisi is near a
flea market, and specialises in second hand books.

       Beaches in Istanbul

       There are beaches in Büyükada, Beykoz, Poyrazköy, Kilyos and Sarıyer.


       The main areas of the city are: Adalar, Avcilar, Bahcelievler, Bakirkoy, Bagcilar,
Bayrampasa, Besiktas, Beykoz, Beyoglu, Eminonu, Eyup, Fatih, Gaziosmanpasa, Gungoren,
Kadikoy, Kagithane, Kartal, Kocasinan, Kucukcekmece, Maltepe, Pendik, Sariyer,
Sultanbeyli, Sisli, Tuzla, Umraniye, Uskudar, Zeytinburnu, Buyukcekmece, Catalca, Silivri
and Sile.

                                                            The Bosphorus

                                       A stay in Istanbul is not complete without a traditional
                               and unforgettable boat trip up the Bosphorus, the winding strait
                               that separates Europe and Asia. Its shores offer a delightful
                               mixture of past and present, grand splendour and simple beauty.
                               Modem hotels stand next to yali (shorefront wooden villas),
                               marble palaces alongside rustic stone fortresses, and elegant
compounds neighbour small fishing villages. The best way to see the Bosphorus is to board
one of the passenger boats that regularly zigzag along the shores. Embark at Eminonu, and
stop alternately on the Asian and European sides of the strait. The round trip excursion, very
reasonably priced, takes about six hours. If you wish a private voyage, there are agencies that
specialise in organising these, day or night
                                                              Golden Horn

                                           This horn-shaped estuary divides European Istanbul.
                                   One of the best natural harbours in the world, it was once the
                                   centre for the Byzantine and Ottoman navies and commercial
                                   shipping interests. Today, attractive parks and promenades
                                   line the shores, a picturesque scene especially as the sun goes
                                   down over the water. At Fener and Balat, neighbourhoods
midway up the Golden Horn, there are entire streets filled with old wooden houses, churches,
and synagogues dating from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The Orthodox Patriarchy resides
at Fener and a little further up the Golden Horn at Eyup, are some wonderful examples of
Ottoman architecture. Muslim pilgrims from all over the world visit Eyup Camii and Tomb of
Eyup, the Prophet Mohammed’s standard bearer, and it is one of the holiest places in Islam.
The area is a still a popular burial place, and the hills above the mosque are dotted with
modern gravestones interspersed with ornate Ottoman stones. The Pierre Loti Cafe, atop the
hill overlooking the shrine and the Golden Horn, is a wonderful place to enjoy the tranquility
of the view.

                                                          Beyoğlu and Taksim

                                         Beyoglu is an interesting example of a district with
                                  European-influenced architecture, from a century before.
                                  Europe’s second oldest subway, Tunel was built by the
                                  French in 1875, must be also one of the shortest – offering a
                                  one-stop ride to start of Taksim. Near to Tunel is the Galata
district, whose Galata Tower became a famous symbols of Istanbul, and the top of which
offers a tremendous 180 degree view of the city.
         From the Tunel area to Taksim square is one of the city’s focal points for shopping,
entertainment and urban promenading: Istiklal Cadesi is a fine example of the contrasts and
compositions of Istanbul; fashion shops, bookshops, cinemas, markets, restaurants and even
hand-carts selling trinkets and simit (sesame bread snack) ensure that the street is packed
throughout the day until late into the night. The old tramcars re-entered into service, which
shuttle up and down this fascinating street, and otherwise the street is entirely pedestrianised.
There are old embassy buildings, Galatasaray High School, the colourful ambience of Balik
Pazari (Fish Bazaar) and restaurants in Cicek Pasaji (Flower Passage). Also on this street is
the oldest church in the area, St Mary’s Draperis dating back to 1789, and the Franciscan
Church of St Antoine, demolished and then rebuilt in 1913.
         The street ends at Taksim Square, a huge open plaza, the hub of modern Istanbul and
always crowded, crowned with an imposing monument celebrating Attaturk and the War of
Independence. The main terminal of the new subway is under the square, adjacent is a noisy
bus terminal, and at the north end is the Ataturk Cultural Centre, one of the venues of the
Istanbul Theatre Festival. Several five-star hotels are dotted around this area, like the Hyatt,
Intercontinental and Hilton (the oldest of its kind in the city). North of the square is the
Istanbul Military Museum.
         Taksim and Beyoglu have for centuries been the centre of nightlife, and now there are
many lively bars and clubs off Istiklal Cadesi, including some of the only gay venues in the
city. Beyoglu is also the centre of the more bohemian arts scene.


       Many places of tourist interest are concentrated in Sultanahmet, heart of the Imperial
Centre of the Ottoman Empire. The most important places in this area, all of which are
described in detail in the “Places of Interest” section, are Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofia, Sultan
Ahmet Camii (the Blue Mosque), the Hippodrome, Kapali Carsi (Covered Market), Yerebatan
Sarnici and the Museum of Islamic Art.

       In addition to this wonderful selection of historical and architectural sites, Sultanahmet
also has a large concentration of carpet and souvenir shops, hotels and guesthouses, cafes,
                                 bars and restaurants, and travel agents.

                                          Ortakoy was a resort for the Ottoman rulers because of
                                 its attractive location on the Bosphorus, and is still a popular
                                 spot for residents and visitors. The village is within a triangle
                                 of a mosque, church and synagogue, and is near Ciragan
                                 Palace, Kabatas High School, Feriye, Princess Hotel.

        The name Ortakoy reflects the university students and teachers who would gather to
drink tea and discuss life, when it was just a small fishing village. These days, however, that
scene has developed into a suburb with an increasing amount of expensive restaurants, bars,
shops and a huge market. The fishing, however, lives on and the area is popular with local
anglers, and there is now a huge waterfront tea-house which is crammed at weekends and
        The first sight of Sarıyer is where the Bosphorus connects with the Black Sea, after the
bend in the river after Tarabya. Around this area, old summer houses, embassies and fish
restaurants line the river, and a narrow road which separates it from Buyukdere, continues
along to the beaches of Kilyos.
        Sarıyer and Rumeli Kavağı are the final wharfs along the European side visited by the
Bosphorus boat trips. Both these districts, famous for their fish restaurants along with
Anadolu Kavagi, get very crowded at weekends and holidays with Istanbul residents escaping
the city
        After these points, the Bosphorus is lined with tree-covered cliffs and little habitation.
The Sadberk Hanim Museum, just before Sariyer, is an interesting place to visit; a collection
of archaeological and ethnographic items, housed in two wooden houses. A few kilometres
away is the huge Belgrade Forest, once a haunting ground of the Ottomans, and now a
popular weekend retreat into the largest forest area in the city.


                                          Relatively unknown to tourists, the suburb of Üsküdar,
                                  on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, is one of the most
                                  attractive suburbs. Religiously conservative in its background,
                                  it has a tranquil atmosphere and some fine examples of
                                  imperial and domestic architecture.
        The Iskele, or Mihrimah Camii is opposite the main ferry pier, on a high platform with
a huge covered porch in front, often occupied by older local men watching life around them.
Opposite this is Yeni Valide Camii, built in 1710, and the Valide Sultan’s green tomb rather
like a giant birdcage. The Cinili Mosque takes its name from the beautiful tiles which
decorate the interior, and was built in 1640.
        Apart from places of religious interest, Uskudar is also well known as a shopping area,
with old market streets selling traditional local produce, and a good fleamarket with second
hand furniture. There are plenty of good restaurants and cafes with great views of the
Bosphorus and the rest of the city, along the quayside. In the direction of Haydarpasa is the
lhe Karaca Ahmet Cemetery, the largest Muslim graveyard in Istanbul. The front of the
Camlica hills lie at the ridge of area and also offer great panoramic views of the islands and


        Further south along the Bosphorus towards the Sea of Marmara, Kadıköy has
developed into a lively area with up-market shopping, eating and entertainment making it
popular especially with wealthy locals. Once prominent in the history of Christianity, the 5th
century hosted important consul meetings here, but there are few reminders of that age. It is
one of the improved districts of Istanbul over the last century, and fashionable area to
promenade along the waterfront in the evenings, especially around the marinas and yacht

         Bagdat Caddesi is one of the most trendy – and label-conscious – fashion shopping
streets, and for more down-to-earth goods, the Gen Azim Gunduz Caddesi is the best place for
clothes, and the bit pazari on Ozelellik Sokak is good for browsing through junk. In the
district of Moda, is the Benadam art gallery, as well as many foreign cuisine restaurants and

        To the north of Kadikoy is Haydarpasa, and the train station built in 1908 with
Prussain-style architecture which was the first stop along the Baghdad railway. Now it is the
main station going to eastbound destinations both within Turkey, and internationally. There
are tombs and monuments dedicated to the English and French soldiers who lost their lives
during the Crimean War (1854-56), near the military hospital. The north-west wing of the
19th Century Selimiye Barracks once housed the hospital, used by Florence Nightingale to
care for soldiers, and remains to honour her memory.


        Polonezköy, although still within the city, is 25 km. away from the centre and not easy
to reach by public transport. Translated as “village of the Poles”, the village has a fascinating
history: It was established in 1848 by Prince Czartorisky, leader of the Polish nationals who
was granted exile in the Ottoman Empire to escape oppression in the Balkans. During his
exile, he succeeded in establishing a community of Balkans, which still survives, on the plot
of land sold to him by a local monastery.
        Since the 1970s the village has become a popular place with local Istanbulites, who
buy their pig meat there (pig being forbidden under Islamic law and therefore difficult to get
elsewhere). All the Poles have since left the village, and the place is inhabited now by wealthy
city people, living in the few remaining Central European style wooden houses with pretty
        What attracts most visitors to Polonezkoy is its vast green expanse, which was
designated Istanbul’s first national park, and the walks though forests with streams and
wooden bridges. Because of its popularity, it gets crowded at weekends and the hotels are
usually full.


        Kilyos is the nearest beach resort to the city, on the Black Sea coast on the European
side of the Bosphorus. Once a Greek fishing village, it has quickly been developed as a
holiday-home development, and gets very crowded in summer. Because of its ease to get
there, 25km and plenty of public transport, it is good for a day trip, and is a popular weekend
getaway with plenty of hotels, and a couple of campsites.


        A pleasant, small holiday town, Şile lies 50km from Üsküdar on the Black Sea coast
and some people even live here and commute into Istanbul. The white sandy beaches are
easily accessible from the main highway, lying on the west, as well as a series of small
beaches at the east end. The town itself if perched on a clifftop over looking the bay tiny
island. There is an interesting French-built black-and-white striped lighthouse, and 14th
century Genoese castle on the nearby island. Apart from its popular beaches, the town is also

famous for its craft; Sile bezi, a white muslin fabric a little like cheesecloth, which the local
women embroider and sell their products on the street, as well as all over Turkey.
       The town has plenty of accommodation available, hotels, guest houses and pansiyons,
although can get very crowded at weekends and holidays as it is very popular with people
from Istanbul for a getaway, especially in the summer. There are small restaurants and bars in
the town.
                                          Smaller and less of a tourist infrastructure is
                                   Burgazada. The famous Turkish novelist, Sait Faik
                                   Abasıyanık lived here, and his house has been turned into a
                                   museum dedicated to his work, and retains a remarkable
                                   tranquil and hallowed atmosphere.


        ‘Island of the Saddlebag’, because of its shape, is loved for its natural beauty and
beaches. It also has a highly prestigious and fashionable watersports club in the northwest of
the island. One of its best-known landmarks is the Greek Orthodox School of Theology, with
an important collection of Byzantine manuscripts. The school sits loftily on the northern hill,
but permission is needed to enter, from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Fener. The Deniz
Harp Okulu, the Naval High School, is on the east side of the waterfront near the jetty, which
was originally the Naval War Academy set up in 1852, then a high school since 1985.
Walking and cycling are popular here, plus isolated beaches as well as the public Yoruk
Beach, set in a magnificent bay. There are plenty of good local restaurants and tea houses,
especially along Ayyıldız Caddesi, and the atmosphere is one of a close community.

       Monuments & Squares


        The ancient Hippodrome, scene of chariot races and the centre of Byzantine civic life,
stands in the area that is now in front of the Blue Mosque, and now part of Sultanahmet. Of
the ornaments which once decorated it, only three remain: The Obelisk of Theodosius, the
bronze Serpentine Column, and the Column of Constantine. Remains of the curved end of the
Hippodrome wall can be seen on the southwest side of the three.

Today, the square forms the centre of Istanbul’s historical, cultural and tourist life, and the
surrounding wooden houses – especially the 18th century ones on Sogukcesme Sokak – were
recently restored giving them a new lease of life as small hotels.

                                                     Theodosius Obelisk

                              Theodosius Obelisk is originally an Egyptian piece of art erected
                      in 1547 BC and originally 60m tall, but only the upper third of it
                      survived the shipment from Egypt, brought to Istanbul by Emperor
                      Theodosius in 390. Made from pink granite, its pictures and hieroglyphs
                      depict the victories of Thutmos III, and reliefs of members of his family
                      can be seen on the base.

                                          Gotlar Column

        This ancient monument remains unchanged since the Roman Period, and lies at the
entrance of Gulhane Park, the external garden of Topkapi Palace. Erected in the third or
fourth century, it composes of a 15m high marble monolith on a high platform. The column
head is adorned with an eagle, typical of Corinthian method. It is also known as Gots Column,
due to the inscriptions which mention the victory against the Gots.

                                Çemberlitaş (Constantine Obelisk)

       Also known as Cemberlistas obelisk, this burnt column of masonry was erected by
Constantine the Great in 330 AD, in celebration of the dedication of the capital city of the
Roman Empire. It was placed in the middle of an oval square on the city’s second hill, in the
area now known as Cemberlitas, and was burnt during the great fire of 1779 which destroyed
much of the area.

                                Yılanlı Obelisk (Burmalı Obelisk)

        Also known as Burmanli Obelisk, it was imported from the Apollo Temple in Delphi,
to Istanbul during the fourth century and is one of the oldest monuments in the city. The
original one was constructed in 409 BC, and made from melting and moulding the guns of the
Persian Army, after their defeat to the United Greeks.

                                                             Beyazıt Square
                                         When constructed in 393 AD during the reign of
                                 Emperor Theodosius, it was the biggest square in the city.
                                 Originally named as Form Tauri, die to the bronze bull heads
                                 in the victory cases in the middle, today only a few marble
                                 blocks and columns remain, on which the statue of the
                                 Emperor rises. At the north end was the first palace
                                 constructed by Fatih, and is now Istanbul University. The
monumental gate at the university’s entrance, and the fire tower, date back to the 19th
       The square which decorates the 15th century Beyazit Mosque (the oldest surviving
imperial mosque in the city) lies adjacent to the crowded Kapali Carsi (Covered Market).

       Mosques & Churches

                               Sultanahmet Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, Rustem Pasa
                               Mosque, Fatih Mosque, Eyup Mosque, Yeni Mosque, Sokullu
                               Mehmet Pasa Mosque and Mihrimah Sultan Mosque are
                               amongst the most famous places of interest.

                               There are many churches and monasteries active within the
city, some of which have been turned into mosques. Studios Monastery Church, Sergios-
Bakhos Church, Hagia Eirene Church, Pantakrator Monastery Church, Vefa Church (Hagios
Theoderos), Nyrelaion Monastery Church, Eglise D'hagia Thekla Monastery, Eski Imaret
Mosque (Pantepoptes Monastery Church), Kalenderhane Mosque (Akataleotos Monastery),

Fenari Isa Mosque (Lios Monastery Church) and Fethiye Mosque (Pammakaristos Monastery
Church) are the best-known ones.


                                                     AYASOFYA MUSEUM
                                         Aya Sophia was, for nearly a thousand years, the
                                 largest enclosed space in the world, and still seen as one of
                                 the world’s most important architectural monuments. It is one
                                 of Turkey’s most popular attractions, drawn by the sheer
                                 spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art.
                                         For 916 years it was a church, then a mosque for 481
                                 years, and since 1935 has been a museum. Thought to have
been constructed by Emperor Konstantinos I (324 – 337) it was burned down during a revolt.
Rebuilt by Emperor Theodosium II, it was opened for worship in 415 and once again was
burned to the ground, during the Nika revolts of 532.
         Emperor Iustanianus (527 – 565) wanted to construct something even bigger than the
original two and appointed architects Isidoros from Miletos, and Anthemios from Tralles to
build the Aya Sophia which still stands. Columns, heads, marble and coloured stones were
imported to Istanbul from ancient cities in Anatolia for the purpose.
         The construction began on 23 December 532, and was completed exactly five years
later. The main, central section measured 100m x 70m, covered with a 55m high dome which
was a mammoth 30m in diameter – appearing to be a great feat of design. The mosaics are of
great importance, and the oldest ones are dominated by geometric and plant motifs decorated
with gold.
         The worst desecration of the church was in 1204, ransacked by Catholic soldiers
during the Fourth Crusade. In 1453, after a failure of the Byzantine Church to fend off the
Turks, Mehmet the Conqueror captured the city, rode into Aya Sofia and immediately turned
it into a mosque. It was repaired several times, and Islamic ornamentation added, for example
an extract of the Koran by calligrapher Izzet Efendi inscribed on the dome. The other
reminders of its previous status as a mosque include huge wooden plaques bearing the names
of Allah, the Prophet Mohammed and the first four caliphs.
         The marble and mosaics remain the most interesting aspects today. The columns
supporting the gallery are made from antique marble, and in the western gallery is the green
marble which marks the position of the throne of the Empress. The impressive figurative
mosaics include Virgin and Child flanked by two emperors, dating back to the late 10th
century, and one depicting Christ, the Virgin, and St John the Baptists. Even though there is
partial damage, the haunting images on their faces remain as strong as ever.
         Opening hours: 09.30 - 16.30, daily except Monday

                           ÇİNİLİ KÖSK (TİLED PAVİLİON)

        The oldest secular building Istanbul, this was constructed as a mansion in 1472. It was
a type of grandstand from which the Sultan would sit and watch wrestling or polo, and its
interior is beautifully decorated with Selcuk art. It now houses the Museum of Turkish
Ceramics, containing fine example of 16th century tiles from Iznik, as well as other renowned
examples of art and pottery from Selcuk and Ottoman times.
        Closed Mondays.

                                             AYA İRİNİ

        This ranks as the first church built in Istanbul. It was commissioned by Constantine in
the 4th century, and Justinian later had it restored. The building reputedly stands on the site of
a pre-Christian temple.
        Closed Mondays.

                          MUSEUM OF TURKISH AND ISLAMIC ART

         Built in 1524 by İbrahim Pasa, the Grand Vizier to Suleyman the Magnificent, this
was originally a palace and the grandest private residences in the Ottoman Empire – and one
of the few which have survived. Some of it, however, was destroyed and rebuilt in stone to
the original designs in 1843.
         Now home to the museum, this is considered one of the finest collections of Islamic
art in the world, with a superb display of ceramics, metalwork, miniatures, calligraphy and
textiles, as well as some of the oldest carpets in the world. Equally as impressive is the grace
of the building, with the central courtyard giving something of an insight into the atmosphere
of the residence.
         Opposite is the Great Hall, which houses a collection of Turkish carpets, with
exquisite antique carpets and kilims and one of the finest collections in the world, the oldest
exhibit dating back to 13th century.
         Opening hours: 09.00 – 17.00, closed Mondays

                                MUSEUM OF TURKISH CARPETS

       Across the street from the Ibrahim Pasa residence is the Museum of Turkish Carpets
which contains exquisite antique carpets and kilims gathered from all over Turkey.
       Open days to visit: Everyday except Monday

                                YEREBATAN SARNICI(CISTERN)

        Nearby Aya Sofia is the 6th century Byzantine underground Basilica cistern, with 335
massive Corinthian columns supporting the immense chamber’s fine brick vaulting. This is
one of several buried into the city’s foundations, and the first to have been excavated and
renovated. Thought to have been built in the 4th century by the emperor Constantine, then
enlarged two centuries later, it was supplied with water from Belgrade Forest, amd supplied it
to the Great Palace and Topkapi Palace.
        It fell into disuse and was then restored in 1987 with the mud and water removed, and
narrow raised pathways providing easy access for visitors. It is the largest covered cistern in
the city, measuring 140 by 70 metres.
        Opening hours: 09.00 - 17.00 closed Tuesdays.

                                         MOSAIC MUSEUM

       The Mosaic Museum preserves in situ exceptionally fine 5th and 6th century mosaic
pavements from the Grand Palace of the Byzantine emperors. Because of the way they are
exhibited, it is easy to understand their size and scale especially because many of them can be
viewed from a catwalk above.
       Opening hours: 09.30 – 17.00, closed Tuesdays

                                         KARİYE MUSEUM

        This is actually Kariye Mosque, once the 11th century church of St Saviour in Chora,
is considered to be the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul, after Aya Sofia.
Whilst unremarkable in its architecture, the interior walls are decorated with superb 14th
century mosaics. Illustrating scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, these
brilliantly colored paintings embody the vigour of Byzantine art. The restored wooden houses
in the surrounding area are a good place for relaxation and refreshment.
        The church was probably built in the early 12th century, of which only the nave and
central apse remain. Theodore Metochites rebuilt it between 1316 and 1321, the same years
from which the mosaics and frescoes date, which depict the life of Christ in picture-book
fashion. There is a series of mosaics in the form of devotional panels in the narthexes, the
theme of which is reflected in the frescoes in the nave and funerary chapel.
        Opening hours: 09.30 – 16.30, closed Wednesdays.

                                      AVIATION MUSEUM

       The Aviation Museum in Yesilkoy traces the development of flight in Turkey.

       Closed Tuesdays.

                                      MILITARY MUSEUM

        Highlight of this museum is definitely the Mehter Takimi, the Ottoman military band,
which performs every afternoon between 15.00 – 16.00. It also has a good collection of
Ottoman military memorabilia, like the cotton and silk tents used by the sultans at war, and
armour and weaponry like heavily decorated jambiyah daggers.
        The band, which originated in 1289, became an institution which came to symbolise
the power and independence of the Ottoman empire, and these musicians, who were
janissaries, always accompanied the Sultans into battle. But quite apart from their benefit on
the battlefield, they came to create new musical styles in Europe, and even influencing Mozart
and Beethoven.
        Opening hours: 09.00 – 17.00, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

                                      MARITIME MUSEUM

        The collection is divided into two buildlings: The one facing the water has seagoing
vessels, and the one opposite the road has exhibits relating to maritime history of the Ottoman
Empire and Turkish Republic. Highlights include items from Ataturk’s yacht, the huge
wooden figureheads of tigers and swans, and the imperial caiques of the sultans, the largest
dating back to 1648, which needed 144 oarsmen to power it.
        Opening hours: 09.00 – 12.30 & 13.30 – 17.00, closed Wednesdays and Thursdays.

                                       ATATÜRK MUSEUM

       Ataturk's former residence in Şisli, 2 km north of Taksim Square, now serves as the
Ataturk Museum and displays his personal effects.
       Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

                                        NAVAL MUSEUM

      The grand imperial caiques used by the sultans to cross the Bosphorus are among the
many many other interesting exhibits of Ottoman naval history that can be seen at the Naval
Museum located in the Besiktas district.
      Open days to visit: Everyday except Saturday and Sunday.

                                    MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

        This collection is in the east wing of Dolmabahce Palace, once the apartments of the
heir to the throne. Although closed for some time following damage after the 1999
earthquake, it is best known for its late 19th century and early 20th century work, which gives
an insight into the life of the late Ottoman Turks. Osman Hamdi is one of the best artists
        Opening hours: 12.30 – 16.30, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

                                          CITY MUSEUM

        Located inside the gardens of Yıldız Palace, this museum preserves and documents the
history of Istanbul since the Ottoman conquest, including ornaments and paintings from the
18th and 19th centuries reflect the way of life. Also within the gardens are the Yildiz Palace
Theatre, and the Yıldız Sarayı Theatre (Museum of Historical Stage Costumes), with richly
decorated scenery, stage and costumes. Also exhibited are portraits of some of the stars who
appeared here, including Sarah Bernhardt.
        Opening hours: 09.00 – 16.30, Closed Mondays.

                              RAHMİ KOÇ INDUSTRY MUSEUM

         The museum is set in an Ottoman-period building, an 18th century factory which
produced anchors and their chains. It was recently converted, although has retained many of
its original features, and restored by Rahmi Koc, one of Turkey’s most powerful industrialists.
It was essentially done so he could house his private collection of models, machines and
vehicles which he had collected from all over Europe, and exhibits include original penny-
farthing bicycles, a ship’s bridge, and an engine from the Kalender steam ferry. The museum
is trying to raise the Australian navy’s first submarine sink of gallipoli in World War I.
         Opening hours: 10.00 – 17.00, closed Mondays.

                                  SADBERK HANIM MUSEUM

        Up the Bosphorus and shortly before Buyukdere, the collection of an Armenian civil
servant fills two charming 19th century wooden villas. The larger of the two villas belonged
to the Armenian, who became a politician and died in the great Beyoglu fire of 1922. His
collection was put together in memory of Sadberk Hanim, wife of millionaire businessman
Vehbi Koc.
        A private museum which originally displayed only Turkish decorative arts, was
recently expanded to include a new collection of archeological exhibits. This is the oldest
section, and includes sixth-millenium BC mother goddesses. In the ethnography section, there
are maternity and circumcision beds, clothing and jewellery.
        Opening hours: 10.00 – 18.00, closed Wednesdays.


                                                         TOPKAPI PALACE

                                          One of the most astounding and popular places to visit
                                 in Istanbul is Topkapi Palace, the symbolic and political
                                 centre of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th
                                 centuries. It stands on the tip of land where the Golden Horn,
                                 the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus come together, and is
                                 a maze of buildings centered around a series of courtyards,
typical of Islamic tradition. Such is the complexity of each building, it will take many hours in
order to be explored properly.
        It was built between 1466 and 1478, a couple of years before the death of Fatih.
Unlike any European Palace, its architecture is predominantly Middle Eastern in character.
The initial construction was Cinili Mansion, a Glass Palace finished in 1472, and the
imposing main gate facing Sultanahmet, Bab-I Humayun, and the Palace ramparts, were
completed in 1478.
        There were originally 750 residents of the Palace, during Fatih’s period, which became
drastically more congested reaching 5000 during normal days and 10,000 during festivals.
Extensions had to be built, and the harem was completed in 1595 during the third Sultan
Murad’s era, after which the harem residents were moved in from the palace at Beyazit, with
a total of 474 concubines. Special tours of the Harem are available. The Harem, literally
meaning “forbidden” in Arabic, was the suite of apartments in the palace belonging to the
wives, concubines and children of the head of the household.
        Around the Harem were the Circumcision Room, the apartments of the Chief Black
Eunuch, and apartments of the sultan – in total over 400 rooms. Other highlights in the Palace
are the Spoonmaker’s Diamond (the fourth largest diamond in the world), the Topkapi
Dagger, (a gift from Mahmut I), a vast collection of paintings and miniatures, and the Pavilion
of the Holy Mantle (including a footprint, a tooth and a hair of the Prophet Mohammed).
        Opening hours: Daily 09.00 – 17.00, winter closed Tuesday.

                                                 DOLMABAHÇE PALACE

                                          Built in the reign of Sultan I Abdulmecit during the
                                  19th century, this over-ornate palace lies along the European
                                  coast of the Bosphorus. Dolmabahce Palace was constructed
                                  between 1843 and 1856, mixing different European artistic
                                  influences and built by Abdulmecit’s architect, Karabet
Balya. It was built over three levels, and symmetrically planned, with 285 chambers and 43
halls. It has a 600m long pier along the river, with two huge monumental gates. The palace is
surrounded by well-maintained and immaculate gardens, with an immense 56-columned
greeting hall, with 750 lights illuminated from 4.5 tonnes of crystal chandelier. The entrance
was used for meeting and greeting Sultans, and opposite the ceremonial hall was the harem.
The interior decoration, furniture, silk carpets and curtains all remain with little defect.
         The palace has a level of luxury not present in most other palaces, with walls and
ceilings decorated with gold, and European art from the period. Top quality silk and wool
carpets, southeast Asian hand-made artifacts, and crystal candlesticks adorn every room. The
men’s hamam (public bath) is adorned with alabaster marble, and the harem also contains the
Sultan’s bedrooms and the women and servants’ divisions. One of the highlights is the throne

room, which stands at an amazing 36-metres high – almost twice the height of the rest of the
rooms. The east wing is home to the Museum of Fine Arts.
       Opening hours: Daily 09.00 – 16.00, except Monday and Thursday.
       Telephone number to book guided tours: (0212) 23 69 600.

                                                     ÇIRAĞAN PALACE

                                          The most picturesque spots along the Bosphorus and
                                  Golden Horn were reserved for the palaces and mansions for
                                  the Sultans, and other important dignitaries, most of which
                                  have now gone. The huge palace was constructed by architect
                                  Serkis Balyan in 1871, as appointed by Sultan Abdul Aziz,
                                  from the ruins of the old palace.
        The interior was rebuilt, at a cost of four million gold coins, beginning with covering
the ceiling with wood and the walls with marble. The rooms were decorated with rare carpets,
furniture, gold and silver. The sides of the building were decorated with coloured marble, and
monumental gates connected it to Yildiz Palace, via a bridge, which is how the harem women
went between the two, in total privacy.
        It briefly housed the Turkish Parliament from 1908, but was destroyed by a fire two
years later, and was only rebuilt in 1991. Now, it is Istanbul’s premier luxury hotel, and has
retained something of its former glory.

                                                   BEYLERBEYİ PALACE

                                        Beylerbeyi, in which the Asian Tower of Bosphorus
                                 Bridge was constructed, is a beautiful district allotted for
                                 palaces since the Byzantium era. Sultan Abdulaziz built the
                                 Palace, to replace the older, wooden palace, between 1861
                                 and 1865. Eastern and Turkish motifs are used with Western
design elements, on the sides and for internal decoration, and the atmosphere is something
resembling that of Dolmabahce Palace.
        The building comprises of three floors, and contains 26 rooms and six halls, which
includes the harem and men's greeting rooms. The interior is decorated with Bohemian
chandeliers, valuable tiles and ceramic vases. Silver-edged furniture and luxurious carpets add
something to the beauty, and even till today the authentic furniture, carpets, curtains and other
property have been well preserved.
        A huge pool, terraces and stables, face the back cliff. A road and tunnel, used until
1970, passed under the palace garden and were used by the most distinguished foreign
dignitaries when visiting the palace.
        Open daily except Monday and Thursday.

                                      YILDIZ PALACE

        This vast park consists of mansions, gardens and lakes, the whole area surrounded by
high walls, and all set in a superb hillside location. Popular at weekends and holidays with
locals, it offers one of the few green areas within the city centre, and is a great place for
walking, relaxing and eating. There is a steep walk up the hill from Ciragan Caddesi up to the
first pavilion, but rewards are cooling breezes and sweeping views of the Bosphorus.

        It was the centre of the Ottoman Empire for 30 years, during the reign of Abdulhamid
II, and the second largest palace in Istanbul. Its main structure, Yildiz Palace, was built in the
old Ottoman style and the pavilions which are dotted around the park were transformed into a
power base. The most important remaining building is Sale Koske, where receptions were
held, and is the largest and most ornate and reveals the luxury in which the sultans lived and
entertained. The first section was modelled on a Swiss Chalet, the second two completed in
the late 19th century.
        Some of the mansions are undergoing restoration, but Sale is open for visitors, and two
have terraces serving food and drinks. Further along the path is a State museum, the Belediye
Sehir Muzesi, and Yildiz Sarayi Theatre.
        Park: Open daily 09.00 – 17.30
        Sale Kosku: Open daily 09.30 – 17.00, except Monday and Thursday.
        Museum: Open daily 09.00 – 16.30, except Monday.


                                                           Kız Kulesi

                                        Considered to be symbolic of Istanbul, this tiny tower
                                 was established on a small island at the entrance of the
                                 Bosphorus. In the past, it was used as a watchtower and a
                                 lighthouse, until its present purpose of a tourist attraction.
                                 Western sources describe this as Leander’s Tower, who was
                                 drowned while swimming, to reach his lover Hera. Another
story suggests that it was a tower where an emperor’s daughter put her there for security,
having dreamt that she would be bitten by a snake.

                                                             Galata Tower

                                            The tower was built by the Genoese in 1348, during
                                    their occupation of the area, primarily to prevent attacks.
                                    Originally known as the Tower of Christ, it stood above the
                                    fortification surrounding the Genoese city-state. There is a
                                    spiral rock staircase which ascends to the top viewing
                                    platform, which today offers visitors spectacular 360 degree
panorama of the entire city. The tower was restored in 1967, and an elevator was installed to
offer a less tiring alternative to the steep climb. There is also a restaurant on the top floor.

                                                             Beyazıt Tower

                                        Within the grounds of the central building of
                                Istanbul’s University (formerly the palace of Mehmet the
                                Conqueror) this wooden tower was built for fire watchers, and
                                remains a landmark throughout the city. Mahmud II
                                demolished it in order to construct a better one, and according
                                to the inscription, he ordered a rock-filled tower in 1828 to be
built by the Ministry of Defense. The monument is 50m high, and from the upper landing,
accessible via wooden staircase, offers a superb overview of the city.

                             SPORTS CENTRES IN ISTANBUL

 There are several sports centers in Istanbul, the universities’ sport centers, the municipality’s
sport centers, and the private sport centers. The private sport centers can be found in the web-
  sites about Istanbul city-life(as, ). Most of private
sport centers include fitness saloons, and in most quarters in Istanbul carpet football fields can
                                          be found easily.
      Most of the universities in the city include sport centers in their campuses. Boğazici
   University, Istanbul Technical University, Yıldız Technical University are few examples.
     The municipality in Istanbul has several sport centers, the information about those are
                                     available in our web-site.


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