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  • Overview

    Turkey links Europe and the Middle East, a genuine amalgamation of west and east. Suspended between the modern and the ancient, it burst with life. City boutiques and exotic bazaars clamour for attention, while the weekly tolling of church bells interrupt the daily call of the muezzin. Roman ruins, early Christian histories, and the presence of the Ottoman Empire all enjoy significance in the country.

    The different regions of Turkey offer an assortment of landscapes and activities. There's something for everybody, with enough cultural delights, urban treats, and beach comforts to satisfy the pickiest of travellers.

    With one part in Europe and the other in Asia, the city of Istanbul is a fascinating metropolis of frenzied marketplaces, imperial residences, and climbing minarets. This is all set against a lively ambience of contemporary art and musical entertainment.

    Out of the city, Cappadocia in Central Turkey offers an astounding landscape of eroded volcanic rock cones and fairy chimneys, remarkable subterranean cities and rock-hewn houses that merge harmoniously with the ochre-coloured landscape.

    Further south, the Turquoise Coast is a haven for boat cruises. Here, visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports, sunbathe on golden sands, or explore the wonderful ancient cities of Troy and Ephesus along the shores of the Aegean Sea.

    Most visitors concentrate on Western Turkey, with its picturesque seaside resorts along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, scenic and recreational attractions, well-preserved archaeological sites, and fascinating museums that bring its rich history to life. Wherever one ventures in Turkey there is certain to be a warm welcome and traditional hospitality, making this a deeply satisfying corner of the world in which to travel.

    Turkey is a varied destination with plenty to see and do for adventurous travellers. The largest city of Istanbul features some unique and world-class sights such as the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, not to mention the shopping paradise of the Grand Bazaar, the largest and oldest covered market in the world.

    Further afield you can find the ancient attractions of Ephesus, Troy, and Augustus' Temple. Turkey is a year-round destination although it's at its hottest during the peak summer months of July and August. Getting around the country is a simple matter of hopping on a short-haul flight or scheduled bus service, while in Istanbul you can negotiate the services of a taxi driver.

    Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

    The massive Hagia Sophia is one of Istanbul's most popular attractions, famous for its impressive size, remarkable architecture, and beautiful mosaics and frescoes. It was commissioned as a cathedral in the 6th century and remained the most important church in Christianity for over 900 years. In the 15th century Mehmet II conquered the city and converted it into a mosque, adding the minarets and fountains. It functioned as such for the next 481 years until the founding of the secular Turkish Republic in 1934 when it was declared a museum. Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest Byzantine buildings in the world, and the vast interior, with its huge, soaring dome, is extraordinary. The interior contains different features from its time as a cathedral and then as a mosque, including incredible Byzantine mosaics, icons, and marble columns, a mihrab (niche indicating the direction of Mecca), and Islamic calligraphy inscriptions on the dome from the Ottoman period.

    Address: Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Transport: Travellers should disembark at the Sultanahmet tram stop.
    Opening time: Open daily: 9am-7pm.
    Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia Dennis Jarvis
    Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

    Commonly known as the Blue Mosque, the Sultan Ahmet Camii is one of the most striking structures on the Istanbul skyline. Constructed as an Islamic rival to the Hagia Sophia in 1609, its tiers of magnificent domes and six graceful minarets are immediately distinguishable. It is one of the finest examples of Ottoman architecture and is still used by hundreds of worshippers. The interior is splendidly decorated with thousands of blue and white Iznik tiles embellished with traditional Ottoman flower patterns, and it is this special feature that gives the mosque its name. Its design of successively descending smaller domes, soaring columns, and 260 stained glass windows leaves a lasting impression of graceful accord and open space. At the back of the mosque is a Carpet and Kilim Museum exhibiting antiques from all over Turkey.

    Address: Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Transport: Disembark at the Sultanahmet tram stop.
    Opening time: Open daily, access restricted during prayer times, especially at midday on Fridays. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 9am and 4pm.
    Blue Mosque Blue Mosque Dennis Jarvis
    Topkapi Palace Museum

    Built by Mehmet the Conqueror as a sultan's palace, the Topkapi Sarayi consists of a collection of buildings arranged around several interconnecting courtyards. Situated on one of the seven hills of Istanbul with uninterrupted views over the Bosphorus River and the Golden Horn, it was the seat of the Ottoman Empire for almost four centuries. Home to nearly 3000 people, it served as a royal residence, harem, administration building, and military barracks. One of the most popular sections is the harem, once the quarters of about 300 women who were the sultans' wives and concubines, and their children. Visitors can view the apartments, halls, and terraces of the harem, and see the lavish royal bedchamber and imperial hall. No expense was spared in decorating the palace and its exquisitely designed rooms, intricately detailed fountains, and splendid treasury housing one of the greatest collections of treasure in the world. It affords insight into the opulent lifestyle of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire.

    Address: Topkapi Sarayi, Sultanahmet
    Opening time: Open daily except Tuesdays from 9am-5pm
    Topkapi Palace Museum Topkapi Palace Museum L.C. Nottaasen
    Turkish and Islamic Art Museum

    The grand 16th century palace of the sultan's Grand Vizier, Ibrahim Pasa, today houses the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, containing what many consider to be the greatest collection of Islamic artefacts in the world. The palace itself was the finest private residence ever built in the Ottoman Empire. From its supreme position overlooking the Hippodrome, the sultan could enjoy excellent views of the celebrations in the square below. The museum is well laid out and contains more than 40,000 examples of Selçuk, Mamluk, and Ottoman Turkish art, including ceramics, Koran cases, calligraphy, textiles, metalwork, and illuminated manuscripts. Its antique carpet exhibit is renowned, with the carpets, kilims, and prayer rugs forming one of the richest and oldest collections in the world.

    Address: Ibrahim Pasa Sarayi, Atmeydani 46, Hippodrome, Sultanahmet
    Transport: Sultanahmet tram stop
    Opening time: Open daily except Mondays from 9.30am-5.30pm
    Website: muze.gov.tr
    Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Patrick
    Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi)

    The oldest and biggest enclosed bazaar in the world, Kapalicarsi is one of the most enticing and mesmerizing attractions in Istanbul. Also known as the Grand Bazaar, it consists of a vast labyrinth of twisting streets crammed with more than 4,000 shops, teahouses, Turkish baths, mosques, storehouses, and fountains. It's a fascinating experience to wander around the alleyways, looking at and bargaining for an array of goods and services. Here you can find almost anything, from meerschaum pipes, carpets, jewellery, and Turkish delight, to textiles, spices, clothing, and hand-painted ceramics. Protracted bargaining over a cup of tea is an important institution. Built during the rule of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461, the bazaar grew by covering an increasingly large area of shops and streets with roofs, arches, and domes. Eventually it became the centre of trading during the Ottoman Empire. Caravans of silk traders traditionally stayed here and rested their camels while selling their merchandise, and many of these caravanserais still exist as storehouses today.

    Address: Kapali Çarsi, Beyazit to Eminönü Harbour.
    Transport: Tram to Beyazit, Üniversite or Sirkeci.
    Opening time: Open daily except Sundays from 8.30am to 7pm.
    The Covered Bazaar The Covered Bazaar michael_swan
    Ephesus

    Ephesus is the biggest and best-preserved ancient city in Turkey and is one of the world's most spectacular historical sites. The city and its harbour were established on the mouth of the Cayster River and, in the 2nd century BC, became the most important port and commercial trading centre in Anatolia. Alexander the Great ruled over it during the Hellenistic period and it was once capital of Roman Asia under Augustus in 133 BC. Ephesus declined during the Byzantine Era and by 527 AD it was deserted. Ephesus is also important as the early seat of Christianity, visited by Saint Paul, whose letters to the Ephesians are recorded in the New Testament. Guides are available and can offer a rich insight into the history and architecture of the ruins. Chariot-worn streets contain amphitheatres, murals, and mosaics, as well as baths, fountains, and columns. Highlights include the enormous Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, and the Grand Theatre where Paul preached to the Ephesians. The city was originally dedicated to the goddess Artemis and her once-magnificent temple is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

    Address: Efes Örenyeri, Selçuk/İzmir.
    Transport: Ephesus is a nine hour bus ride from Istanbul. Travellers should fly to Izmir Airport and take a shuttle from the airport to Selcuk - from there Ephesus is easily accessible.
    Opening time: Daily: 8am-6.30pm (in winter the site closes at 5pm)
    Ephesus Library Ephesus Library Adrienne Bassett
    Pamukkale

    Calcium-rich mineral springs have surged over the edges of this mountain plateau edges for thousands of years, resulting in an intriguing natural masterpiece. Meaning 'Cotton Castle', the rock formations of Pamukkale are a series of natural shelves, ridges, and terraces turned white from the solidified chalky calcium deposits of the thermal waters. From a distance it appears to be a dazzling white fairytale castle, with a formation of tiers rising from the ground containing warm water pools. The hot springs have been used since Roman times and are believed to cure certain ailments. Additionally, visitors should not miss the bubbling Sacred Pool of the Ancients, the main source of the springs which created the white terraces. Fortunately, its mineral waters are open for public bathing. Pamukkale is also the site of the ancient Roman spa-city of Hierapolis, and there are several ruins scattered about the area, including an impressive Roman theatre. It was considered a sacred site for its magic healing waters and was the holiday destination of kings and emperors of the Pergamum and Roman Empires.

    Transport: Pamukkale is a five-hour bus journey from Bodrum.
    Pamukkale Pamukkale josep salvia i bote
    Olympos and the Fires of the Chimaera

    The ancient site of Olympos dates back to Hellenistic times when it was an important Lycian city, becoming famous as a place for worship honouring Hephaestos, the God of Fire. Located on a beautiful sandy bay, the ruins are spread out on either side of the Ulupinar River and include a Byzantine bathhouse with mosaic floors, a marble temple entrance, a theatre, and some excavated tombs. The shoreline is also a major protected nesting site for sea turtles. On the rocky slopes above the ancient city are a series of eternal flames issuing from cracks in the rock, caused by the combustion of natural gas seeping out of the mountain. It is possible to extinguish them briefly, but they will always reignite and are most impressive in the dark when at their most visible. The fire that comes out of the ground is said to be coming from the mouth of the Chimera, a mythical fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and a snake's tail, who was slain by the Lydian hero, Bellerophon, on his winged horse Pegasus.

    Address: Çirali.
    Transport: The bus from Antalya to Olympos takes 1.5 hours. In season minibuses travel to Çirali: from here the eternal flames are less than a miles (1.5km) walk away.
    Ruins of Olympos Ruins of Olympos ekke
    Goreme Open-Air Museum

    The Goreme Open-Air Museum is the most visited of the monastic communities in Cappadocia and is one of the most famous sites in central Turkey. It is a complex comprising more than 30 rock-hewn churches and chapels which contain some superb frescoes, dating from the 9th to the 11th centuries. Inconspicuous from the outside, the interiors are characteristically Byzantine with a central dome and a floor plan in the shape of a cross.

    The three columned churches, the Elmali, Karanlik, and Carikli churches are the best known, and are superbly painted. The largest and best preserved is the Tokali Church, its interior walls covered in some of the richest frescoes in the region, depicting scenes from the New Testament.

    Address: Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey.
    Goreme Open Air Museum Goreme Open Air Museum Qudsiya
    Underground Cities of Cappadocia

    Cappadocia was overlooked by most as a dusty and barren landscape, making it a perfect refuge for the Christians who established the first communities here. They carved chambers, vaults, and labyrinthine tunnels into the soft volcanic rock for use as churches, stables, and homes. Of the 40 underground settlements, Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are the biggest and most interesting, inhabited by Christians fleeing persecution in the 7th century from Arab invasions. These cities were well-hidden complexes, a safe and self-sufficient environment that could accommodate up to 30,000 people. The most thoroughly excavated is Derinkuyu, consisting of eight floors with stables, a school room and dining hall, churches, kitchens, living quarters, wine cellars, store rooms, and a dungeon. Original airshafts still function and the maze of tunnels and rooms are well lit.

    Transport: The best way to see the cities is on a day tour or by renting a car, but dolmuses (minibuses) go from Goreme to Nevsehir, and from there to the cities.
    Underground City in Cappadocia Underground City in Cappadocia Helen Cook
    Ancient Troy

    For about 3,000 years the legendary battle of Troy pervaded Western culture. The story, told by Homer in the Iliad, was regarded as just a myth, until the ruins of the city were found at Hisarlik, in western Turkey, in the mid-19th century. Today the romantic story draws tourists and archaeologists alike to the site, where not a great deal remains to be seen beyond the ancient walls and a replica of the famed Trojan horse which enabled the final conquering of the city by the ancient Greeks. The setting is also spectacular, offering views of the Dardanelles and the hills of Gallipoli.

    Address: 340 km (211 miles) west of Istanbul on the highway to Izmir.
    Transport: Troy is best accessed from the town of Çanakkale on the western bank of the Dardanelles. Çanakkale can be reached by bus from Istanbul, and taxis are available for transport to the remains of Troy.
    Trojan Horse Trojan Horse Chris
    Goreme

    The small town of Goreme is situated in the middle of the Valley of Fairy Chimneys, surrounded by the eerie shapes and fantastic rock formations that have made the region famous. It is one of the few remaining villages where fairy chimneys and rock-hewn houses are still inhabited, and several restaurants and cafes are carved into the rock. Its biggest attraction is the Goreme Open-Air Museum with over 30 beautifully frescoed Byzantine rock churches. The town makes an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding rock formations, villages, and vineyards. For shoppers, carpets and kilims are plentiful.

    Goreme Goreme Mr Hick 46
    Anitkabir

    A revered monument in the city accessed by a wide avenue lined with lion statues, Anitkabir is the mausoleum of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk. It draws Turks from all over the country who come to pay their respects to their hero. It is also a fascinating attraction for visitors to Ankara, its stark but imposing colonnaded aspect giving onto a courtyard which contains a museum. The ceiling of the main hall is decorated with beautiful gold leaf mosaics, and there are plenty of reliefs and statues to be admired.

    Address: Mebusevleri Mh., Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey.
    Anitkabir Anitkabir Jean & Nathalie
    Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

    The museum which charts the history of Asia Minor is housed in a lovely 15th-century restored building close to the centre of Ankara. Originally a market and caravanserai close to the centre of Ankara, it's the ideal place to visit for anyone intending to travel through Turkey and delve into the past. It is filled with fascinating collections of archaeological finds, from monolithic statues to delicate jewellery, including some from Catal Huyuk, believed to be the earliest known human social community in the world. From the Palaeolithic and Neolithic, and through all the great civilizations since, this museum is like a time machine for ancient history buffs.

    Address: Kale Mh., Gözcü Sk. No:2, Ulus/Altındağ/Ankara, Turkey.
    Opening time: Daily from 8.30am to 4pm.
    Anatolian Museum of Civilization Anatolian Museum of Civilization J Brew
    Temple of Augustus

    The Roman Temple of Augustus was built by the Romans in the 2nd century AD, and contains the best-preserved copy of Emperor Augustus' last will and testament, inscribed on the vestibule walls. After the death of Augustus in 14 AD, a copy of the text of the Res Gestae Divi Augusti was inscribed in Latin on both walls inside the pronaos, with a Greek translation on an exterior wall of the cella. The inscriptions are the primary surviving source of the text, since the original inscription on bronze pillars in front of the Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome has long been lost, and two other surviving inscriptions of the text are incomplete. The temple itself is in ruins and not open to the public, but together with other Roman ruins in the vicinity (including the Roman baths and the column of Julian) it is an exciting port of call for classical history addicts.

    Address: Hacı Bayram Mahallesi, Altındağ/Ankara, Turkey.
    Opening time: Daily, 6am-11pm.
    Temple of Augustus Temple of Augustus Ori~
    Ethnographic Museum

    When the founder of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk, died in 1938, he was buried in the courtyard of the building which now houses the Ethnographic Museum. Although he was moved to his final resting place at the imposing Mausoleum in Ankara, the museum is still well worth the visit. Guarded by an imposing bronze statue of the national hero astride his horse, inside is contained a vast collection of historical artefacts that include costumes, arts, and crafts.

    Address: Talat Paşa Bulvarı,Türkocağı, Sokak, No:4 Opera, Sıhhiye, Ankara.
    Opening time: Daily except Monday 8:30am-12:30pm, and 1:30pm-5:30pm
    Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Rateslines
    Natural History Museum

    Anyone with an interest in the natural world will enjoy Ankara's Natural History Museum, which contains some fascinating exhibits and dioramas detailing the (often extinct) wildlife of Anatolia, as well as a large collection of fossils and minerals. Most interesting are the fossilized footprints of humans who walked the Anatolian steppes 25,000 years ago, and the skeleton of a Maras elephant which lived in the area 193 million years ago.

    Address: Eskişehir Yolu Balgat, Ankara.
    Opening time: Weekdays 9.30am-5.30pm.
    Purple Jade from Turkey Purple Jade from Turkey James St. John
    Sunken Palace

    Also known as the Underground Cistern or Yerebatan Saray, this eerie cavern was built by Constantine the Great around 532 AD and is supported by 336 columns below ground. Once as a location for the James Bond film, , today the cavern sees tourists crossing over 2 acres of 12 inch deep water on wooden walkways, taking in the occasional art exhibit or intricate designs on the columns themselves. There is a pleasant little cafe above where the eyes can adjust over some tea.

    Address: Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Opening time: 9am-5.30pm daily.
    Underground Cistern Underground Cistern Brian Jeffery Beggerly
    Galata Tower

    The Galata Tower is a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karakoy quarter of Istanbul, sitting north of the Golden Horn inlet to the Bosphorus. Called Galata Kulesi in Turkish, it was erected as a bastion for the walls of the 14th century colony of Galata. One of the city's most striking landmarks, the high cone-capped cylinder dominates the skyline and offers panoramic vistas of Istanbul's historic peninsula and old town. Today it is a sought-after conference venue, offering fine dining at its restaurant and belly dancing displays in its very own night club.

    Address: Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi, Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Transport: Centrally located, the Galata Tower is within easy reach using Istanbuls public transport systems.
    Opening time: 9am-8.30pm, Monday to Sunday.
    Galata Tower Galata Tower cristic
    Dolmabahce Palace

    The Dolmabahce Palace was home to six Sultans from 1856, when it was first inhabited, up until the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924. The last royal to live here was Caliph Abdulmecid Efendi, before a law in 1924 transferred the ownership of the palace to the national heritage of the new Turkish Republic. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, used the palace as a presidential residence during the summers and enacted some of his most important works here. Ataturk spent the last days of his medical treatment in this palace, where he died in 1938. The palace has an ostentatious interior of crystal chandeliers, while the exterior of the palace has a vast and beautiful garden.

    Address: Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Cd., Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Opening time: Tuesday, Wednesday 9am-4pm. Friday to Sunday, 9am-4pm. Closed on Mondays and Thursdays.
    Dolmabahce Palace Dolmabahce Palace DavidConFran
    Istanbul Dolphinarium

    Kids on holiday in Istanbul will jump at a chance to visit the dolphinarium. Its six pools are home to a collection of dolphins and seals, as well as white whales and walruses. Children will have the opportunity of a lifetime to swim with the dolphins and learn about sea life while they're there. The restaurant and cafe are great places for a snack or lunch break and there is also a gift store to buy a souvenir for your visit.

    Address: Silahtaraga Mahallesi, Silahtarağa Caddesi No: 2/4, Eyüp/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Transport: Disembark at the Çeltik or Sakarya Mahallesi bus stop.
    Opening time: Shows: Tuesday to Sunday, 1pm and 5pm; closed Mondays.
    Playful dolphins Playful dolphins dmytrok
    Museum of the History of Science and Technology

    The Museum of the History of Science and Technology is located in the Gulhane Park, one of the most beautiful areas of Istanbul. It extends over 3500 square meters along the old palace wall, on the former stables of the Sultan's Has Ahirlar. In front of the entrance, the visitor encounters a large globe, which is a reconstruction of one of the most important achievements of the Islamic scientific tradition. Decades of intensive research in the history of Arabic-Islamic manuscripts were necessary as a preparation for the creation of the wealth of objects in the museum. Visitors to the museum can obtain unique insight into the Islamic scientific tradition by looking at the details of the exact replicas of the scientific and technical achievements from the ninth through the seventeenth centuries.

    Address: Cankurtaran Mh., Taya Hatun Cd. 8a, Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Opening time: Daily from 9am-7pm.
    Website: www.ibttm.org
    Scientific Kids Scientific Kids lorda
    Hippodrome

    The ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople was built between 200 and 300 as a stadium for horse racing, chariot racing, and other amusements. Seating up to 100,000 people, there isn't much remaining of the structure today. Now the site of the Hippodrome in Istanbul is a beautiful public park with a few remaining columns hinting at its grand past. The Obelisk of Tutmosis III, the Basilica Cistern, the Fountain of Wilhelm II, and the Serpentine and Constantine Columns are popular landmarks within the park, which also offers free wireless internet.

    Address: Binbirdirek Mh., Sultan Ahmet Parkı No:2, Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Transport: Sultanahmet tram.
    Opening time: Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    Hippodrome Hippodrome Arch2all
    Mount Ararat

    In the far east of Turkey lies Mount Ararat, the twin peaks of this dormant volcano boast the highest summit in the country and legend has it that the remains of Noah's Ark lie on the snow-capped slopes. Many tours are available to climb or even ski Mount Ararat, with solo climbing without a guide and permit not permitted. The climb to the top is relatively easy and requires a basic level of fitness, but is suitable for non-professional climbers. For those not wishing to climb Mount Ararat, the local Kurdish villages situated on the foot of the mountain can be a great cultural experience while the nearby town of Dogubayazit provides stunning views of the mountain and is home to the second largest meteor crater in the world. Noah's Ark National Park at Mount Ararat is home to a museum dedicated to what is believed to be the fossilised remains of the ark.

    Mount Ararat Mount Ararat Lockalbot

    Turkish Phrase Book

    Turkish English Pronounciation
    Merhaba Hello Mare-haba
    Gule gule Goodbye Goolie goolie
    Lutfen Please Loot-fen
    Tesekkurler Thank you Teshe-kur-la
    Evet Yes Evet
    Hayir No Higher
    Benim adim... My name is... Benim adem...
    Ne kadar? How much? Nay kadar?
    ...Nerede? Where is...? ...Ner-ede?
    Inglizche biliyor-musun? Do you speak English? In-glizche biliyor-musun?
    Anlam�yorum I don�t understand An-la-m�yo-rum
    Bir, iki, uc, dort, bes One, two, three, four, five Beer, iqui, ooch, dort, besh
    Ben Isteyorum bir doktor I need a doctor Ben is-tee-orum ber dok-tor

    The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey have very hot and dry summers. Winters, between October and April, are mild and wet, and Turkey's coastal towns more or less shut down. Winter in Istanbul and Cappadocia can be very cold, sometimes with light snow cover.

    The peak tourist season is during high summer, roughly between July and September, and this is the ideal time for a beach holiday in Turkey. The spring and autumn months are also a good time to to visit, with warm days, cool evenings, and no mosquitos. Eastern Turkey should be visited during summer as roads and mountain passes may close due to winter ice and snow.

    360istanbul

    An aptly named restaurant, 360istanbul is situated on a rooftop terrace with beautiful views and a sleek concrete and glass design. The menu offers fusion cuisine featuring Turkish, Mediterranean, and Oriental ingredients. There's a variety of options, with dishes including lamb rack confit, saffron risotto, and a popular rock lobster arrabiatta. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, and dinner only on weekends. Reservations required.

    Address: Tomtom Mahallesi, Istiklal Cd No:8 D:163, Beyoğlu/Tepebaşı/Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
    Cezayir

    Cezayir serves Turkish cuisine with an international influence. Indian spices are used in a Turkish samosa, and other menu favourites include the salmon carpaccio and the borek (grilled spinach and cheese pastry). With wicker chairs and pale yellow walls, the mood in this restaurant is very calm and relaxed. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Reservations essential.

    Address: Kuloğlu Mh., Hayriye Cd. No:12, Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
    Asitane

    Set in a 19th century mansion overlooking the Golden Horn, Asitane serves authentic Ottoman cuisine. Featuring Central Asian, Anatolian, Middle Eastern, and Balkan influences, some recipes span some 500 years. Veal in apple sauce and cinnamon flavoured chicken kebabs are just two of the delicious menu options. Open daily for lunch and dinner, and brunch on Sundays. Reservations recommended.

    Address: Edirnekapı Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:6, Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey.
    The House Cafe (Ortakoy)

    Boasting two terraces on the Ortakoy's waterfront, this trendy restaurant's decor blends beautifully with its seaside location. While the menu features excellent seafood dishes, the pizza with pears, honey, and Roquefort is also sublime. Open daily, reservations required.

    Address: Yıldız Mh., Salhane Sk. No:1, Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Korfez

    The Korfez lies nestled in a cove on the Asian side of the Bosphorus Straight, with tables set on a deck right over the water and a view of the bridge. Korfez is often purported to be the best seafood restaurant in Istanbul. Start the meal with Turkish vegetable starters or from a selection of seafood appetisers. Fish meals are salted lightly and grilled to perfection. The restaurant provides a ferry for customers coming to dine there from the European side of the straight. Open daily except Mondays. Reservations essential.

    Address: Anadolu Hisarı Mh., Körfez Cd. No:78, Beykoz/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Feriye Lokantasi

    The Feriye Lokantasi is a multi-purpose venue with its own bar, cafe, conference hall, and two separate seasonal venues for the one restaurant. The best way to enjoy this facility is on the outdoor terrace on a balmy summer evening. The menu, like the venue, is flexible and based on what is seasonal, offering Turkish cuisine cooked in the Ottoman tradition. The menu offers delicious meals such as grilled turbot, with saffron and courgette balls, in raspberry puree. Open daily for lunch and dinner, reservations required.

    Address: Yıldız Mh., Çırağan Cd. No:40, Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Website: www.feriye.com/
    Mikla

    Located on the top two floors of the 18 storey Marmara Pera Hotel, this gourmet restaurant offers glorious 360 degree vistas of the lights of Old Town. Chef-owner Mehmet Gurs prepares Turkish and Scandinavian meals such as sauteed scallops with vegetable risotto, and Ragu beef cheeks with porcini mushroom soup. An absolute favourite is the lamb escargot for mains, followed by a tachio and tahini ice-cream dessert. Reservations are essential.

    Address: The Marmara Pera Meşrutiyet Caddesi 15, Beyoğlu, İstanbul, Turkey.
    Istanbul Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 25 miles (40km) northwest of Istanbul.
    Time: GMT +3
    Transfer Between Terminals There is one large, modern terminal at the airport, consisting of seven entrances. Gates 1 and 2 serve domestic flights, while the rest serve international flights.
    Getting to the city: While there are plans to connect the railway, shuttles are currently the only form of public transport serving the airport. Havaist and IETT offer shuttle services and tickets/smartcards can be purchased at the airport. Taxis are also readily available.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Europcar, Comet, Enterprise, Garenta, Hertz, Budget, Avis, and Dokay.
    Airport Taxis: Istanbul Airport is northwest of Istanbul and it takes around 45 minutes to an hour to reach the city centre by taxi. There are three main taxis: yellow economy taxis, blue comfort taxis, and black premium taxis.
    Fascilities: There are shops, banks, bureaux de change, prayer rooms, a large range of food and beverage outlets, bars, a duty free, and passenger lounges. There is also an airport hotel as well as tourism information centres.
    Parking Istanbul Airport boasts one of the largest multi-storey carparks in the world, consisting of five blocks with low-cost to premium options.
    Antalya International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated six miles (10km) from Antalya.
    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Taxis are available from outside Arrivals for around TL 12 and there is a bus service to Antalya from the Domestic and International terminals for TL 3.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, and Budget.
    Fascilities: Bureaux de change and ATMs are available in Arrivals and Departures. Cafes, a variety of take-away joints, and a pub offer snacks, meals, and drinks. Other facilities include duty-free shopping, a business lounge, public telephones, baby care facilities, medical facilities, travel agencies, and a post office. There are also good facilities available for those with special needs.
    Parking There are two parking lots near the terminals with long and short-term parking options. Visitors can park at the Domestic Terminal free of charge up to 15 minutes.
    Website: www.aytport.com
    Izmir Adnan Menderes International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 11 miles (18km) from Izmir.
    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: The Havas airport shuttle bus to the centre of Izmir can be caught from the domestic terminal. Travel time is 50 minutes. Trains also service the airport and leave from the International terminal to the Basmane train station in the city, but these are usually only in the afternoons. Taxis are also available for around TL 20-30.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Hertz, National, Europcar, and Sixt, as well as some local car hire companies.
    Fascilities: Foreign exchange can be found in both Arrivals and Departures. Shops are available, including duty free, and cafes, restaurants, and bars exist throughout the terminal building. Other facilities include public telephones, a post office, ATM, hairdresser, tourist information, and hotel reservations. Facilities for those with special needs are good.
    Parking Parking at Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport is charged at TL 7.50 for the first hour, TL 10.50 for up to three hours, and TL 25.50 for 12-24 hours. Long-term parking rates are TL 55 for up to four days and TL 86 for a week.
    ATM Dalaman Airport
    Location: The airport is situated about four miles (6km) from Dalaman.
    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Taxis are available outside the terminal, and there are bus services to Dalaman via Marmaris and Fethiye, which leave from the domestic terminal. Dalaman airport taxis connect passengers to the Otogar bus terminal.
    Car Rental: Avis, Hertz, and Europcar have rental companies at the airport.
    Fascilities: Banks and exchange bureaux are available. There is a variety of duty-free shops in arrivals and departures, as well as a food court, which offers a variety of takeaways, restaurants, and bars. Other facilities include places of worship, baby care rooms, a post office, internet access, and public telephones.
    Parking Parking fees at Dalaman Airport start at TL7.50 for the first hour up to TL25 for 24 hours and TL142.50 for a month. There are additional charges for minibuses, buses, and trucks. Short-term parking is within walking distance of the terminal.
    Esenboga International Airport
    Location: The airport is located northeast of Ankara, 17 miles (28km) from the city centre.
    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from March to October).
    Getting to the city: The Havas bus service operates between the airport and a central city terminal, stopping at various points en route. The fare for a one-way journey is TL9.50. Metered taxis are also available, and various private companies run shuttles.
    Car Rental: Several car rental companies are represented at the airport, including Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, Thrifty, Avis, and Alamo.
    Fascilities: There are banks with exchange facilities in both arrivals and departures, three duty free shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes, and snack kiosks. In addition there is a hairdresser, shoe-shine kiosk, a florist, and bookstores. Wifi is freely available and the airport is accessible for the disabled.
    Bodrum Airport (Milas-Bodrum Airport)
    Location: The airport is situated 22 miles (36km) northeast of Bodrum, and 10 miles (16km) south of Milas.
    Time: Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals The new international terminal and the old terminal, now used only for domestic flights, are just over half a mile away from one another, a 15 minute walk across a field.
    Getting to the city: There is an airport shuttle bus which travels to and from Bodrum city centre, stopping at various points en route. The trip to the central bus station in Bodrum costs about TL10. Havas coaches operating from the domestic terminal are timed with Turkish Airlines flights to and from Istanbul. There are plenty of airport taxis available and their rates are fixed and generally quite fair.
    Car Rental: Hertz, Avis, and Europcar have rental desks at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: There is a rate board at the terminals which shows current fares to 44 cities and towns in the region. The fare to Bodrum is around TL100 and roughly TL235 to Kusadasi, a 2-hour journey away.
    Fascilities: Parking, currency exchange, cafeteria, shops, car rental, taxi service, ATM, and an information desk.
    Parking Ample short-term and long-term bays are available outside the main terminal.
    Sabiha Gökçen International Airport
    Location: The airport is 22 miles (35km) south-east of Istanbul.
    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals Terminals are within one building.
    Getting to the city: Buses connect the airport to various parts of Istanbul. Tickets are TL 1.65 and the journey into Istanbul takes between 30 and 45 minutes. Shuttles to the historical centre of Istanbul run every half hour between 5am and midnight. Tickets are TL 18 for the 40 minute trip.
    Car Rental: Rental companies operating at the airport include National Alamo, Sixt, Payless, Central, Hertz, Europcar, Nord Travel, Budget, Avis, and Bostanci.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis can be found outside the arrivals section of the airport. Fares into Istanbul cost approximately TL 90, passengers have to pay highway and bridge tolls as well.
    Fascilities: The airport has ATMs, shops, restaurants, a first aid centre, pharmacies, a prayer room, hair salon, shoeshine stand, and meeting facilities. Currency exchange facilities and a post office are also available and there is a left-luggage desk.
    Parking Parking rates start at TL 8 for the first hour, TL 10 for 1-3 hours, TL 16 for 3-6 hours, and TL 35 for the day. Long-term reduced rates are also available.
    Money:

    The official currency is the Turkish Lira (TRY), which is divided into 100 kurus. Currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange booths, post offices, airports, and ferry ports. Note that banks have the worst rates but will exchange lesser known foreign currencies. Banks open mainly Monday to Friday, but some are open daily in tourist areas.

    ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas, but Turkish ATM keypads usually do not have letters of the English alphabet on their keys. Major credit cards are widely accepted; the most popular are Visa or MasterCard, but American Express is also accepted in some areas. Some hotels in the most popular destinations accept US dollars as payment.

    Language:

    Turkish is the official language, but English is widely understood in the main tourist areas.

    Electricity:

    220 volts AC, 50Hz. The European two-pin plug is standard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US passport holders must have a passport that is valid for six months beyond date of entry. A visa is required.

    Passports should be valid for at least 6 months from the entry date. British nationals need a visa to enter Turkey.

    Passports must be valid for at least 60 days beyond the duration of stay. Canadian nationals require visas to enter Turkey.

    Australian passport holders must have a valid visa. Passports must be valid for at least 60 days beyond the expiry date of their visa.

    South African passports must be valid for at least six months from the intended date of arrival. South African nationals require a visa to enter Turkey.

    Irish nationals require a visa to enter Turkey. Passports must be valid for at least six months longer than the expiry date on the requested visa.

    US passport holders must have a passport that is valid for six months beyond date of entry. A visa is required.

    New Zealand nationals require a visa to enter Turkey. Passports must be valid for at least six months longer than the expiry date on the requested visa. Visas are required for stays longer than 90 days.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    All passports must be valid for at least the period of stay. All travellers to Turkey are required to hold return or onward tickets, documents for the next destination and sufficient funds for the period of their stay. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    There are no vaccination requirements for travelling to Turkey. Mosquitoes can be an irritation in mid-summer but malaria is not considered a risk in the main tourist areas of the west and south-west. Most tap water in the larger towns and cities has been chlorinated, but bottled water is still recommended for drinking.

    Food from street vendors should be treated with caution unless it is obviously fresh or hot. The standard of healthcare is not high in state hospitals but the private health sector is well-regarded and modern facilities exist in private hospitals in Ankara and Istanbul. Travel insurance is recommended.

    Tipping:

    Tipping is a way of life in Turkey and it is customary to give some small change for most services, or a small percent of the bill. In bigger hotels and restaurants if a service charge is not added to the bill, it is customary to tip between 10 and 15 percent. For taxi fares it is enough to round up the bill. Attendants at Turkish baths expect to share between 10 to 20 percent of the total bill if service has been good.

    Safety Information:

    As in many Western countries, there is a threat from terrorism in Turkey and there have been a number of incidents, including explosions in Istanbul, the capital Ankara, and in the coastal tourist resorts. The Istanbul Ataturk International Airport has been the most recent target. There are also continuing incidents of local terrorism in eastern Turkey, particularly the southeast.

    Visitors should avoid any public demonstrations. Street crime is relatively low although visitors should guard their valuables at all times. Many parts of Turkey lie on a major seismic fault line and are subject to earthquakes and tremors: several fairly recent earthquakes have shaken eastern Turkey, the southwest, and southeast.

    Local Customs:

    While it is difficult to make sweeping statements about a country that runs from Armenia to Greece, the Turkish people are generally welcoming and hospitable. Most visitors will stay in modern Istanbul or in one of the popular holiday resorts where locals are likely to be fairly open-minded; however, tourists should respect religious customs, particularly during the month of Ramadan. Dress modestly when visiting mosques or religious shrines. There is a smoking ban on all forms of public transport and in outdoor venues.

    Business:

    In Turkey, business associates are addressed by their first names. If the associate is male, then his name is followed by 'bey', and 'hanim' is used for females. A formal, conservative dress code is observed in Turkey, and women should be careful to dress particularly conservatively. Gifts are common and are usually something the associate would use in business such as a pen or other office stationary. Business hours throughout Turkey are generally 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.

    Communications:

    The international country dialling code for Turkey is +90. Mobile phone coverage is good with networks covering most of the country. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts, and wifi is increasingly easily available.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers to Turkey do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 200g tobacco. Alcohol allowance includes 1 litre or 700ml bottle of wine or spirits. Other allowances include 5 bottles of perfume up to 120ml each; gifts to the value of TRY 500, tea and coffee for personal consumption, jewellery and guns for sporting purposes. Tape recorders, record players and transistor radios have to be declared on arrival. Restricted items include playing cards, which are limited to one pack.

    Useful Contacts:

    Turkish Tourist Office: +90 212 573 4136 (Istanbul) or www.tourismturkey.org

    Turkey Embassies:

    Turkish Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 612 6700.

    Turkish Consulate, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7391 6900.

    Turkish Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 789 4044.

    Turkish Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 342 6055.

    Turkish Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6234 0000.

    Turkish Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 668 5240.

    Turkish Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 472 1290.

    Foreign Embassies in Turkey :

    United States Consulate General, Istanbul: +90 212 335 9000.

    British Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 455 3344.

    Canadian Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 409 2700.

    South African Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 405 6861.

    Australian Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 459 9500.

    Irish Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 459 1000.

    New Zealand Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 446 3333.

    Turkey Emergency Numbers : 112 (Medical Emergency), 155 (Police).
    Turkey