While it is Spring in Istanbul, it will be summer along the Aegean and Mediterranean coast. The sun will shine continuously from April until well into November in Southern Turkey with a mean temperature around 90 degress F (32 C). Occasional showers will be experienced in Istanbul and all central areas during this time. Winter normally begins towards the end of November and continues into March. Winter temperatures in Istanbul hover around 46 F (8 C) while those along the Aegean and Mediterranean coastline never drop below 50 F (10 C).
WHAT TO WEAR
Turkey is a warm country for most of the year, and casual wear including shorts, pants, T-shirts and sunglassed are preferred during the Spring and Summer months. A good sturdy pair of walking shoes are essential, including a sweater for the occasional chilly evening after a suntan. Winter travellers will definitely need warm waterproof clothing, including hats, gloves and thick sweaters.
Turkish is the common spoken language, but most shopkeepers can speak rudimentary English, German and even Italian. All directions, apart from tourist signs, are written in Turkish.
The Turkish currency is the Turkish 'Lira' (TL) and bank notes are available in denominations of 5.000.000 TL, 1.000.000 TL, 500.000 TL, 250.000 TL, 100.000 TL and 50.000 TL. Although there are Bureau de Change in most major cities, exchanges are best made at banks and hotels who will provide a receipt, which is necessary in case you wish to convert your remaining TL back to your own currency at the end of your holiday.
Tipping is customary and 10-15% is considered to be the norm in most hotels and restaurants. There is no need to tip a taxi as your driver will usually round up the total fair to the next one thousand Liras.
The Turks have been making yoghurt for nearly two thousand years and it still remains a staple of Turkish food. It can be consumed as a beverage, applied as a sauce or eaten from small containers sold everywhere. A Turkish entree« normally consists of the 'Meze', a mouth watering array of dishes that contain everything from cold beans, fried or mashed eggplant, boiled shrimps, rice wrapped in vine leaves, white cheeses, chilled cucumbers, chillies or salty fish. All this will be served with Turkey's most delicious bread, cold, hot or flat like a pancake and covered in melted butter. If you still have room after the 'Meze', then choose from a wide selection of lamb, beef or chicken kebabs. Deserts consist of fresh fruit or very rich pastries full of nuts, sugar and honey. Turkish cuisine is not demanding on the palate, but is very fattening. So weight-watchers beware!
BUSINESS AND SHOPPING HOURS
Turkey shares with Europe the Saturday and Sunday weekend.
Shops: 9.00-13.00 14.00-19.00 (closed Sundays)
Banks: 8.30-12.00 13.30-17.00 (closed Saturday and Sunday)
The Turkish population is mostly Muslim. Turkey is a secular state which grants complete freedom to worship for non-Muslims, including Christians, Armenians, Greeks and Jews.
The Turkish Republic is a nationalist, democratic and secular state. Turkey belongs to NATO, OECD,the Council of Europe and is an associate member of the EEC.
220 volts and 50 cycles for domestic use. American and Japanese appliances will need a transformer to convert from 110 volt.
There are a number of excellent hospitals run to international standards:
American Hospital, Güzelbahçe Sokak 20, Nişantaşı (Tel.231-4050)
French Hospital, Taşkışla Caddesi 3, Taksim (Tel.248-4756)
German Hospital, Sıraselviler Caddesi 119, Taksim (Tel.243-8100)
International Hospital, Istanbul Cad. 82, Yeşilköy (Tel.663-3000)
Hacettepe Medical Centre, University of Ankara (Tel.324-2240)
The big cities, especially Istanbul, cater for a wide variety of tastes, including cinemas, where most films are shown in their original language with Turkish subtitles; nightclubs, ranging from the exclusive with restaurants, bars and discos in the 5-star hotels or along the Bosphorus, to the more traditional variety featuring live shows, Turkish music and belly dancers. At various times throughout the year, Istanbul hosts cultural festivals including music, dance, and theatre. The International Istanbul Festival takes place annually between June and July and features some of the world's top artists in Jazz, Pop and Classical music. Check with your tour guide or the information desk in your hotel for more details.
People don't travel to Turkey to shop in western department stores, although very good examples of these do exist. The real excitement of Turkish shopping is the experience of getting lost in historic bazaars which date back five hundred years; of bargaining with shop-keepers whose great-great-grand fathers kept the same trade and sold the same wares; to be surrounded by the hustle and bustle and shouts and cries of the hawkers, merchants and travelling salesmen who seem to occupy every street corner. Once you have experienced bargaining with a Turkish stall keeper, shopping back at home will never be quite the same again!
Every big city around the world experiences crime to some degree, but Turkey is a secular Islamic state and crime is looked upon by most Turks as the most shameful behaviour a Muslim can commit. A money belt is the most convenient way of carrying your personal items while on tour, leaving your hands free to take photographs
Passport required except for holders of;
-"Laissez Passer" issued by United Nations
-Military Identitiy Card issued by a NATO country
-National Identitiy Card issued to nationals of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland Visa required except for; Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Korea Rep., Kuwait, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland, U.S.A passports.
The following passengers holding a normal passport can obtain a visa on arrival for a single entry;
- Austrian nationals at ATS 150.- (Valid for 3 months)
- British nationals at GBP 5.- (Valid for 3 months)
- Irish nationals at GBP 5.- (Valid for 3 months)
- Nationals of Italy at USD 5.- (Valid for 3 months)
- Nationals of South Africa at TRL 46,600.- (Valid for 1 month)
- Nationals of Taiwan at TRL 46,600.- (Valid for 8 days)
- Nationals of Spain at USD 10.- (Valid for 3 months)
Visitors who need a visa must also hold documents and tickets required for return/ownward travel, except for holders of British passports.
The current restriction on the import of personal goods is 400 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, seven bottles of liquor, five bottles of perfume and one kilogram (2.2lb) of coffee or tea. Customs officials seldom bother to open tourists' luggage on your entry, but they may show more interest on your departure. There is a strict prohibition on the export of antiquities and you may be required to show a proof of purchase slip and currency exchange slip if you have bought a Turkish carpet. Older carpets may also require a document from the shop-keeper or from a local museum certifying that the carpet is not an antiquity.
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Essential Tips About Turkey
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