Istanbul, located between the Black Sea and Marmara Sea and with the Bosphorus Straight cutting through its center, has been the center of many civilizations throughout the ages as a result of its geographical location.
Istanbul, which formerly belonged to the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, is now the Turkish Republic’s most important city from a cultural and economic perspective. Istanbul is the only city in the world standing upon 2 continents, Asia and Europe, with the perfect blend of cultures and heritage from both sides.
The Bosphorus, flowing through the middle of the city, serves as a natural point of separation. The Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridges, as well as regular ferry service, connect the two sides of the city. The European side is also divided into two by the Golden Horn or Haliç, seperating the historcal Istanbul, the Sultanahmet area from the modern city.
Istanbul, at the same time, is the only route by maritime traffic originating from countries on the coast of the Black Sea – such as Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia and Ukraine – can access the Mediterranean and the waters beyond; with the exception of Russia, which has coastline on the Baltic and Arctic Ocean, the remaining countries have no alternative route.
English, German, Russian, Italian and Spanish are widely spoken foreign languages in Istanbul.
The monetary unit is the Turkish lira (TL), which comes in bank notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. In Istanbul, traveler checks are rarely accepted. ATMs can be found in even the smallest Turkish towns. Most international credit cards or bank cards are accepted (a strip of logos is usually displayed above the ATM). ATMs have a language key to enable you to read the instructions in English.
The electrical current in Turkey is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take Continental-type plugs, with two round prongs.
Weight & Measures
Turkey uses the metric system for weight and measures.
Most international driver's licenses are recognized in Turkey. Car rental companies require for a valid national or international license. Remember to keep to the right-hand side of the road and wear your seat belt at all times.
The value-added tax, here called KDV is almost always included in quoted prices. Certain shops are authorized to refund the tax (ask).
There is no serious health risks associated with travel to Istanbul and to Turkey. No vaccinations are required for your travels to Turkey.
Safety & Security
Turkey is a safe and secure country. The streets of Istanbul are considerably safer than many of its counterparts in the world.