Istanbul

Previously known as Constantinople, Istanbul is one of the most significant cities of Turkey. Being the only city in the World which connects two continents, Asia and Europe, Istanbul is surrounded by the Sea of Marmara and The Black Sea which are united in the Bosphorus Strait. Furthermore, the Golden Horn separates the historic center from the rest of the city and creates a natural harbor bounding the peninsula where the former Byzantium and Constantinople were founded. Having hosted many nations within its boundaries in the past, Istanbul has a history of over 2500 years. The city is popular for its historical monuments and breathtaking beauties. Historic areas of Istanbul including Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace and Süleymaniye Mosque, were partially listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 2010, Istanbul was named as the European Capital of Culture by the European Union.

Practical Information:

-You may dial 112 for medical emergencies, and 155 for police to access legal authorities.

-The official time zone settled in Turkey is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).

-Turkish currency is the Turkish Lira, TL. Banknotes used in the country are as follows: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 & 200 TL; and coins are 5, 10, 25 & 50 Kuruş and 1 TL.

-Exchange rate was 6,9991 TL for 1 Euro and 6,1220 for 1 US Dollar as of 20 August 2018. You may exchange your foreign currency at the airport, banks, hotels and exchange bureaus located around the city. International Credit Cards are widely accepted; such as Visa and MasterCard. Please bear in mind that Turkish ATM keypads usually do not have letters of the English alphabet on their keys. Major credit cards are widely accepted; the most popular ones are Visa or MasterCard, while American Express is also accepted in only some areas. Some hotels in the most popular destinations accept US dollars as payment.

-Banks around the city are working Monday to Friday, 09:00-17:00, while they are closed on Saturday and Sunday and public holidays. You may still find a few banks working in tourist destinations. All banks have similar exchange rates. There are a few ATMs in and around the Campus and most of them accept all debit cards. 

-In June, the weather in İstanbul is generally hot in the day and warm in the night. The average temperature in the month of June is between 30-35 Celsius.

-You may follow the up-to-date weather forecast for İstanbul from the link below: http://www.meteoroloji.gov.tr

-Among other major touristic destinations, Istanbul was listed as one of the lowest levels of crime. Despite hosting an enormously high population and traffic, a tourist can walk through around famous places in the city without any problem.

-Public phones operate with cards, which are sold at post offices and some newspaper kiosks. Some public phones have access to AT&T and some other telecommunication networks. Fax messages can be sent from major post offices and hotels. Cellular telephones can be hired. 

-For access to internet, most cafes and restaurant have Wi-Fi connection, and you may also visit internet cafes located around the city if you need to use a computer.

-International Dial Code used in Turkey is +90. 

-Turkey uses 220 volts/50 Hz. electricity and socket type is European standard (2-pin plug).

-Most shops in Istanbul are generally open from 09:00 to 21:00, Monday to Saturday. Some of the supermarkets, shopping malls, newspaper kiosks, restaurants and food shops are also open on Sunday. You can enjoy tax free shopping in all the major shopping centers.

-Prices in hotels, restaurants, taxi fares, etc., are calculated to include taxes and service. A tip, therefore, is not indispensable, but justified for good service. In restaurants, leave 10% of the bill. Taxi drivers usually do not expect tips.

-The best way to explore the city is on foot due to the high traffic problem, but you may still use cheap public transport network consisting of buses, taxis or dolmus (shared minibus taxis), tramways and a metro system. Cash only applies in taxis and dolmuses, while the rest uses an electronic system called as IstanbulKart or Akbil. You may easily buy an IstanbulKart with a low price, but there are tickets being sold around the city near stations, with only a very little difference in price. You may ask your hotel receptionist to call a taxi for you, however, make sure you check the meter as overcharging is unfortunately common.

-In the Anatolian Side, there is an underground metro line that starts from Tavşantepe and ends in Kadıköy; and in the European Side, the metro line runs from Aksaray to the main city bus station at Esenler and the Ataturk Airport, and another runs north from Taksim Square, passing the Levent districts.