Turkey, officially known as the Republic of Turkey, is located in the northern hemisphere where the two continents, Europe and Asia meet. The majority of its territory extends over the Anatolian peninsula, whereas the rest lies on the Thrace, the edge of the Balkan peninsula. Three sides of the country is surrounded by sea; the Mediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea and Archipelago are to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north. Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria are its neighbors.
Population (2010 July est.) : 78.7 millions (17th largest in the world)
Population growth per annum : 1.2 %
total: 783,562 sq km (37th largest in the world)
land: 769,632 sq km
water: 13,930 sq kmCoastline : 7200 km
Administratine provinces : 81
GDP (2009 est) : $958.3 billion - (17th largest in the world)
GDP (real growth rate) : %7.3
Major Industries (2008est):
Agriculture : 11.7 %
Industry : 29.8 %
Services : 58.5 %
A to Z Turkey
Please note that it is strictly forbidden to export antiquities or antiques from Turkey and there are severe penalties for those who attempt to do so. In order to export such items legally it is necessary to obtain a certificate from a directorate of a museum. For further information visit: www.kulturturizm.gov.tr
Banks are normally open weekdays between 09:00 - 17:00 with an hour lunch break between 12:30-13:30. However, selected branches of some Turkish banks now remain open during the middle of the day and for a few hours on Saturday. Many banks throughout Turkey provide 24-hour service from ATM machines. Branches in major hotels are available.
Turkish Lira (TL) is available in the following denominations: Currency is Turkish Lira (TL). The denominations in circulation are:
1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 TL
1 Kurus = 0.01 TL 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 Kurus and 1 TL
1 USD = app. 1,83 TL (on 12th of October 2011)
1 Euro = app. 2,52 TL (on 12th of October 2011)
Usually, cash can be exchanged without charging commission in exchange offices, banks or hotels. (Travellers from UK should remember that Scottish notes are not accepted in Turkey)
Cash point machines (ATM) are available in most areas, which accept major European credit and cards and give instructions in English. It may be a good idea to inform your bank in advance that you are travelling to Turkey as some will automatically put a stop on cards after the first usage in an attempt to combat fraud.
The Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts display a typical Mediterranean climate of hot summers and mild winters. July and August are the hottest months with temperatures around 29°C. The humidity is a little high during summer in these regions. Temperatures increase a few degrees when traveling to the south and water temperatures also become warmer. The swimming season is from June to September along the Marmara and North Aegean coasts, while it is from April to October on the South Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. There is quite a difference between the coastal regions and the inland regions which are at higher altitudes. The climate reaches its extremes in central and eastern Anatolia with hot, dry summers when the temperatures may reach 42°C, and cold, snowy winters. Spring and autumn are best for sightseeing and traveling.
Climate in Istanbul
The climate is mild in the autumn months. Average temperatures in October are around 15C.
All major credit cards VISA, American Express, Mastercard, Diners Club are accepted in most of the places. You can draw cash from bank ATMs that offer language options.
Crossing the bridges over Bosphorus
While crossing the bridges over Bosphorus, it is impossible to pay crossing fee by cash. To cross the bridges, drivers should obtain a 'KGS card', some sort of pay-per-pass system. In the toll plaza of the highway, you should enter to ‘KGS Satis’ gate and buy a KGS card which costs 30 TL. Credit of 30 TL is loaded into your card, so this amount may be used while using the highways and bridges. However, please note that it is not necessary to obtain a KGS card, since all course of Bosphorus Rally 2010 is on public roads which are toll free.
It is permitted to bring the following items into Turkey as duty free goods: Wines, Tobacco & Other Luxury Items. The following allowances apply to the import of both domestic and foreign goods: 200 cigarettes (1 Box) and 50 cigars. Plus: 200 grams tobacco and 200 cigarette papers or 200 grams pipe tobacco or 200 grams chewing tobacco or 200 grams tobacco for argyle or 50 grams snuff. In addition to the above allowances, it is also possible to purchase 200 cigarettes, 100 cigars and 500 grams pipe tobacco in the Turkish Duty Free Shops when entering the country. The following may also be imported: 1.5 kg coffee; 1.5 kg instant coffee; 500 go teas; 1 kg Chocolate; 1 kg Confectionery; 1 (100 cl) or 2 (75cl or 70 cl) bottles of wine and/or spirits; cologne, lavender water, perfume, essence and lotion (120 ml maximum of each).
Those who use 110 V or any other than 220 V at home need a converter as Turkey has 220 V A power system. Plugs and sockets are Continental European-type, two round prong design. Please check your electric appliances before you use them in your hotel room. Only the five stars deluxe properties would have converters so it is advised to bring one with you in case it is needed.
International Operator 115
Directory Assistance 118
Fire Department 110
Exchange offices are available all over the city and they buy and sell all the major currencies.
Food matters in Turkey:
Sanitation is taken seriously and strictly controlled in general by the authorities. Those who are vegetarian will be able to find vegetable food or at least omelet which is very popular in Turkey, almost in every town. The Turkish and Ottoman Kitchen is one of the world leading kitchens (Supposed to be the third after the Chinese and French). Dishes are mainly cooked with meat (lamb, chicken and cow -please note that in Turkey pork is not eaten-) and vegetables (Beans, Eggplant, Peppers, Onion, Garlic, Potatoes, Courgette). Rice, macaroni , local specialties made from flour (Pide, Manti, Gozleme, Borek...), sweets (Baklava, Kadayif, Burma, Sobiyet ...) are all widely eaten. Most of the restaurants display their food in windows, or waiters can bring the samples if you request.
The official language is Turkish. English is widely spoken in major cities and tourist resorts, and you will find that most Turks welcome the opportunity to practise their language skills and will go out of their way to be helpful. Foreign visitors who attempt to speak even a few words of Turkish, however, will definitely be rewarded with even warmer smiles.
Some useful words and phrases:
Hello --- Merhaba (mare-hah-bah)
Good Morning --- Günaydin (goon-eye-din) (said on meeting)
Good Day --- iyi günler (ee-yee goo -n-ler) (said on meeting or parting)
Good evening --- iyi aksamlar (ee-yee ak-sham-lar) (said on meeting or parting)
Good night --- iyi geceler (ee-yee gedge -e-ler) (said on meeting or parting)
Please --- Lutfen (lute-fen)
Thanks --- Tesekkürler (tesh-e-kiir- ler)
Yes --- Evet (e-vet)
No --- Hayir (higher)
I want --- istiyorum (ist-ee-your-um)
When? --- Ne zaman? (nay za-man)
Today --- Bugün (boo-goon)
Tomorrow --- Yarin (yah-run)
Where? --- Nerede (ne're-de)
My name is..... --- ismim.......(is-mim)
Water --- su (sue)
Milk --- slit (suit)
Beer --- bira (beer-a)
Wine --- Sarap (shar-ap)
Tea --- cay (ch-eye)
Coffee --- kahve (car-vay)
Food --- yemek (ye-meck)
Be careful! --- Dikkat!
1- birr (beer)
2- icy (icky)
3- üç (ouch)
4- dört (dirt)
6- alti (al-ter)
8- sekiz (seck-is)
9- dokuz (dock-uz)
10- on (on)
Days of the Week:
Monday -- Pazartesi
Tuesday -- Sali
Wednesday -- Carsamba
Friday -- Cuma
Saturday -- Cumartesi
Sunday -- Pazar
There are a number of phrase books and language guides, some with audio cassettes or CD's, which are widely available.
You will need to pay for any medical treatment which you receive in Turkey. For this reason it is advisable to take out medical insurance before travelling. It is not difficult to find English-speaking doctors in all but the most remote areas. There are also foreign run hospitals in many of the larger towns and resorts. There are pharmacies in most places with trained pharmacists who are able to offer advice on minor illnesses. Many more medicines are available over the counter.
A mobile (cell) phone is very useful in Turkey. As foreigner, in order to obtain a new SIM-card Take your mobile phone and your passport to a shop of a Turkish Network Operator (Avea, Turkcell or Vodafone). Buy a SIM card, and the clerk will register the SIM card's mobile phone number with your handset's IMEI number, and with your personal information.
Most museums and palaces are open every day of the week except Mondays. There are a few notable exceptions: Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays instead of Mondays; Dolmabahçe Palace is closed Mondays and Thursdays and the Chora Church is closed on Wednesdays. For further information on museums visit: www.kulturturizm.gov.tr
On Entry / Visa:
While planning your trip to Turkey do not forget to check your passport if it is valid for at least 90 days. Depending on your nationality, most probably your stay as a tourist is limited up to 3 months (for one entrance). For tourist visas, there is no need to apply in advance or to fill in any forms. If you are flying to Turkey, you will buy your visa at the Turkish airport on arrival. You will see the visa desk, situated just before passport control. You must buy your visa, which will be stamped on your passaport by the official, before you join the queue for passport control.
The visa for UK passport holders currently costs £10 and must be paid for with a Sterling note. The visa for other EU state-passport holders currently costs € 10 and must be paid for with a Euro note. Visas are multiple entries and are valid for three months. Each passport-holder, including infants, must purchase a visa. With tourist visas you will not have the right to take up paid or unpaid employment or to reside, or to study (including student exchange program) or to establish yourself in business in Turkey. For more detailed information click here.
For valuable gifts and souvenirs, such as a carpet, proof of purchase is necessary, together with receipts showing that any currency used in its purchase has been legally exchanged. Please note that it is strictly forbidden to export antiques from Turkey. Minerals can only be exported with a special document. There is no limit to the amount of foreign and Turkish currency to be brought into Turkey. Up to US$5000 worth of Turkish or foreign currency can be taken out of the country, providing that it can be shown that the currency has been obtained from authorised banks. Larger amount of foreign or Turkish currency must be transferred abroad through banks.
Other Customs Regulations:
Please note that the information provided above is intended to cover items usually carried by tourists visiting Turkey. If you are planning a longer stay or are carrying anything unusual into or out of the country, it is best to check the regulations in more detail.
There are two types of police in Turkey - civil police and military police, gendarme. In many areas you will see that there is the one or the other, and that both fulfil the same function. In some places, there are also specialist tourist police. If you need to report a crime you should go to the nearest police station to where the crime occurred. In touristic areas there will usually be someone available, who speaks English or you can always request a translator. You will usually be asked to submit and sign a statement. It is advisable to request a copy of any relative document in case you need it at a later stage.
Post offices can be identified by the letters PTT in black on yellow background. Post offices are open Monday to Saturday until 5pm and close for lunch. You can send post, make telephone calls and sometimes send telegrams and change money or traveler's cheques at the PTTs.
The preferred means of transport in Turkey is by coach and the air-conditioned intercity coach services are comfortable, fast and inexpensive. Each town has a bus station (otogar), where each bus company has its own office, where you can make reservations and buy tickets. Alternatively, you can buy tickets from local travel agencies.
Sunrise - Sunset Times
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 06:52 - 16:45
Thursday, 17 November 2011 06:53 - 16:44
Friday, 18 November 2011 06:55 - 16:43
To dial abroad from Turkey, dial the international code 00 followed by the country code, and then the number including the local area code, but removing the first 0. For example, a London number with an area code of 0207 would be dialed from Turkey as 00 44 207 followed by the number. To dial Turkey from abroad dial the international code 00 followed by the country code, 90 and then the number including the local area code, but removing the first 0. Istanbul area code is 212 in European side and 216 in Asian side, from abroad this is +90 212 or +90 216 Network coverage is extremely good and it is very rare to be in an area where your mobile does not work.
The value-added tax, in Turkey called Katma Deger Vergisi, or KDV, is 18% on most goods and services. Hotels and restaurants typically combine it with a service charge of 10% to 15%.
You Can Receive a Tax Refund for the Goods You Purchased In Turkey! Refunds will be made to travellers who do not reside in Turkey. All goods (including food and drinks) are included in the refunds with the exclusion of services rendered. The minimum amount of purchase that qualifies for refund is 5.000.000 TL.
Retailers that qualify for tax refunds must be authorised for refund. These retailers must display a permit received from their respective tax office. The retailer will make four copies of the receipt for your refund, three of which will be received by the purchaser. If photocopies of the receipt are received the retailer must sign and stamp the copies to validate them. If you prefer the refund to be made by check, a Tax-Free Shopping Check for the amount to be refunded to the customer must be given along with the receipt. For the purchaser to benefit from this exemption he must leave the country within three months with the goods purchased showing them to Turkish customs officials along with the appropriate receipts and/or check.
There are four ways to receive your refund:
- If the retailer gives you a check it can he cashed at a bank in the customs area at the airport
- If it is not possible to cash the check upon departure or if you do not wish to cash it then, the customer must, within one month, send a copy of the receipt showing that the goods have left the country to the retailer who will, within ten days upon receiving the receipt, send a bank transfer to the purchaser's hank or address
- If the certified receipt and check are brought back to the retailer on a subsequent visit within one-month of the date of customs certification, the refund can be made directly to the purchaser
- Retailers may directly refund the amount to trustworthy customers upon purchase. The refund may be made by the organisation of those companies that are authorised to make tax refunds.
Taxis are numerous in all Turkish cities and are recognizable by their yellow color and word "Taksi" on top of the car. All taxis have the letter T in their license plates. The fare shown on the meter reads according to distance traveled. The rates for day and night are same.
Start is 2.00 TL and each kilometer costs 1.30 TL. Following free period of first 10 minutes, waiting time is charged 0.25 TL per 5 minutes.
Please note that credit card and foreign currencies are not accepted.
In November 2011, Turkish standard time will be two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and one hour ahead of Central European Time (CET)
At various establishments like hotels, restaurants, Turkish baths, barbers and hairdressers, tipping at a rate of 5% - 15% of the total is common. Taxi and 'dolmus' drivers on the other hand, do not expect tips or even rounded fares.
Turkish Tourist Health Society (Turizm Sagligi Dernegi)
(Hacettepe Üniversitesi Tip Fakültesi Plastik ve Rekonstrüktif Cerrahi Ana Bilim Dali, Sihhiye)
Tel (312) 311 93 93, 310 98 08
Turkish Tourist Health Society perfoms the functions below: To provide the travellers in the entire country, mainly in the touristic regions, with proper health care
To secure food hygiene
To prevent environmental pollution
To ensure hygiene and healthy working-conditions in touristic establishments
As in all big metropolitian cities, Istanbul has its own traffic problem. Nevertheless, the Organising Committee has chosen the route of the rally and arranged timing accordingly, bearing traffic situation in mind.
However, traffic jam still may cause problems, especially on the major ways and bridges over Bosphorus during rush hours (between 07:00 - 09:00 and 17:00 - 19:00). So it is strongly recommended to stay in Asian side of Istanbul to avoid traffic jam.
In order to avoid any problems when leaving the country it is recommended that you register valuable items at the customs office on entry to Turkey. All personal belongings and articles made of precious stones or metals (with no commercial purposes) worth under USDS 15,000 may be brought into and taken out of the country. Jewellery worth more than this amount may only be taken out of the country providing it has been registered on entry or that you can prove that it was purchased in Turkey with legally exchanged currency.
Visiting a mosque:
Five times a day, the 'müezzin' calls the faithful to prayer in this mosque. Before entering a mosque, Muslims wash themselves and remove their shoes. Foreign visitors should also remove their shoes and show the respect they would have to any other house of worship and avoid visiting the mosque during prayer time. Women should cover their heads and arms, and not wear miniskirts. Men should not wear shorts. (In certain famous mosques, overalls are provided for those not suitably dressed.)
Although tap water is chlorinated and, therefore, safe to drink, it is recommended that you consume bottled water, which is readily and cheaply available. Water, means still water in Turkey. If you would like to buy mineral water (with gas) please ask for 'Soda'.
Weights and Measures
1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
1 centimeter = 0.3937 inches
1 yard = 0,9144 meters
1 meter = 1.0936 yards
1 mile = 1,6093 kilometers
1 kilometer = 0.6214 miles
1 pound = 0,4536 kilograms
1 kilogram = 2.2046 pounds
Who are Turks?
They are the descendants of Turkic nomand from Central Asia and the many ethnic groups that inhabited the former Otoman Empire. Today the term "Turk" commonly refers to citizens of the Turkish Republic and represents a national rather than an ethnic identity. Most Turks are Muslims but the Turkish Republic is a secular state.
TURKISH HERITAGE SITES ON THE WORLD HERITAGE LIST
Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Cultural / Natural
Description: Found in a spectacular landscape, entirely sculpted by erosion, the Göreme valley and its surroundings contain rock-hewn sanctuaries that provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post-Iconoclastic period. Dwellings, troglodyte villages, underground towns, and the remains of a traditional human habitat dating back to the 4th century can also be seen there. This site contains superlative phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance, and is also an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, which is representative of a culture or human interaction with the environment.
Great Mosque and Hospital Divrigi
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Cultural / Natural
Description: This structure is outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history. The highly sophisticated technique of the vault construction, and a creative, exuberant type of decorative sculpture, particularly on the three doorways, in contrast to the unadorned walls of the interior, are the unique features of the Great Mosque, a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.
Historic Areas of Istanbul
Date of Inscription: 1985
Description: They represent a masterpiece of human creative genius, and exhibit an important interchange of human values over a span of time, or within a cultural area of the world. On top of this, they also exhibit developments in architecture, technology, monumental arts, town-planning and landscape design. With its strategic location on the Bosporus peninsula, between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years.
Hattusha: the Hittite Capital
Date of Inscription: 1986
Description: The archaeological site of Hattusha, former capital of the Hittite Empire, is notable for its urban organization. The types of structures that have been preserved include temples, royal residences, fortifications, the rich ornamentation of the Lions' Gate and the Royal Gate, and the ensemble of rock art at Yazilikaya.
Date of Inscription: 1987
Description: The mausoleum of Antiochus I (69-34 B.C.), who reigned over Commagene, a kingdom which was founded north of Syria and the Euphrates after the breakup of Alexander's empire, is one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period. It bears a unique or at least exceptional testimonial to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which has disappeared, and is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history.
Date of Inscription: 1988
Category: Cultural / Natural
Description: Deriving from springs in a cliff almost 200 m high overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have created at Pamukkale (Cotton Palace) an unreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. Pamukkale contains an unimaginable natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.
Date of Inscription: 1988
Description: This site, which was the capital of Lycia, illustrates the blending of Lycian traditions and Hellenic influence, especially in its funerary art. It exhibits an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, through developments made in various sectors including architecture, technology, monumental arts, town-planning and landscape design.
City of Safranbolu
Date of Inscription: 1994
Description: From the 13th century to the advent of the railway in the early 20th century, Safranbolu was an important caravan station on the main East-West trade route. During its zenith in the 17th century, Safranbolu's architecture influenced urban development throughout much of the Ottoman Empire.
Archaeological Site of Troy
Date of Inscription: 1998
Description: Troy, with its 4,000 years of history, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. The archaeological site of Troy is of immense significance in the understanding of the development of European civilization at a critical stage in its early development. It is, moreover, of exceptional cultural importance because of the profound influence of Homer's Iliad on the creative arts over more than two millennia. That is why it can be to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.