General Information


Istanbul’s history and introducing

Beautiful Istanbul, both modern and historical city. Istanbul has 8500 years old history, which discovered by Yenikapı Theodosius port excavation. So, a new period started about Istanbul’s archaeological history. First settlement established B.C in 700 by Greeks. This city becomes the capital of Rome and the east Rome empire in the name of Constantinople. It was conquered by the Ottoman empire in 1453 and become capital for five centuries. The city was started to be called Istanbul by Turks. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, but it is not the capital city anymore. Due to its location, Istanbul is a bridge between Europe and Asia. The Bosporus and Golden Horn are the most important symbols of the city. There are the Roman period Works such as Basilica Cistern, Cemberlitas, Hippodrome in the city and heritage of the Genoese Galata Tower is located. Byzantine and Ottoman buildings complete the city. The most important monuments of Byzantine structures are Hagia Sophia. There is the sum of Ottoman period works such as Rumeli Fortress, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar in the city. Istanbul’s cultural heritage is at the UNESCO World Heritage list. Istanbul is also a modern city at the same time. In 2010, Istanbul become a European cultural capital.

The Geography of Istanbul

Istanbul is the most special cities in the world due to its position as a bridge between Europe and Asia

To the south of Istanbul lays the Marmara Sea and to its north the Black Sea. The Western part of the city is in Europe, and the Eastern is in Asia. This geographical location gives characteristics of east and west to the city at the same time. The watercourse that divides Istanbul is the Bosporus.

Istanbul is so huge area, that you can experience several different sub-climates in the same city because of its stayed between north Black Sea part and the south Marmara Sea part.

Generally, summer months are warm and humid with little rain especially between July-August, winter months cold and sometimes snowy but not that much as other areas of Turkey. Spring and autumn are soft and this would be the best time for visitors.


There is more than one name in the history of Istanbul’s islands. These are; Monk islands, Soul islands, Genie islands, Ring islands, Prince islands, etc.  Prince islands is a well-known name. The reason is that from the Roman to the end of the Byzantine period, nobility, princes and even queens were killed in various torture.


This is the largest island of Princes’ islands. The surface area is 5,4 km. There are two hills and these are: on South with 203m height Yucetepe, North 164m height Monastery hills. Büyükada was decorated with new mansions during the Republican era and it became sightseeing place of Istanbul’s people. Aya Yorgi church and monastery placed on the highest hill of the island.

Heybeliada is the second biggest island in Istanbul. It is the most popular holiday place for Istanbul’s people. Island has fresh air, beautiful nature and view, also it is famous with Sanatorium, Bahriye and Pastor School. Heybeliada ferry services started middle of 19 century. The island's width 2700 meters and its length is 1200 meters. It is place middle of Istanbul’s islands. There are four hills in Büyükada, the highest hill is Değirmentepe (136 meters). There are four seaports in Buyukada. Çam port and Bahriye port are important ports.


In early times called ‘’ Safe Harbour’’. Burgazada is the third biggest island in Istanbul. The island’s shape is rounded, and the width is 2 kilometres. The only hill on the island is Bayrak Tepesi. Burgazada is one of the most popular places in Istanbul with its climate, beaches, pines, restored elegant mansions. The area known as the Kalpazankaya rocks is one of the best places to go swimming.


It is one of the smallest islands in the settlement of the islands. It is 1500X1100 kilometres in size. Kınalıada got its name because of its red image. There are three hills: Çınar hill, Teşvikiye hill, Manastır hill. Kınalıada is a rocky place so that there is no wooded. In the Byzantine period, they used Kınalıada stone in the construction of Byzantine walls.


It is the smallest island in the settlement of the islands. It is 1300x1100 meters in size.  There are two beaches. Sedefadası was also used as a place of exile in the Byzantine period like other Istanbul islands.


It is a small island. Width 185 m, Height 740 m. The land is flat, but the coast is usually steeped in the sea.

There is a small port on North. In 1947, Yassıada bought by Turkish naval forces and they have established a modern military school there.


It’s one of the smallest islands of Istanbul. It has 90 meters height from the sea. There is one freshwater well and small port on the South. In the Byzantine period, it was used as an exile island. In antiquity, it was a place for monks who wanted to retreat.

 It is a small island that stayed on the east of Burgazada. The old name was Pita. The area is several hundred meters width from North to South. There are two small houses and a small port on the island.


Tavşanadası is the farthest island of Istanbul. (Distance to Istanbul port is 13,5 sea miles). It is bigger than Kaşıkadası. Width hight 90m.Rocky and without tree island. There is a 40m height hill on the island. On map ''Balıkçıadası'' is the official name.

Congress Tourism

Istanbul occupies an important place between metropolitan cities of the world, and it has serious potential for congress tourism. Istanbul became the most preferred city of Turkey for congress tourism due to its location, history, natural beauty, and transportation resource.

Istanbul is the first destination in the world in the category of congress with more than 500 participants today.

Cruiser Tourism

It is sea tourism which, include port visits, small city trip and shopping. The Caribbean / Bahamas, the most preferred route for cruise tourists, this route follows by other Mediterranean countries, including Turkey. Among the Mediterranean countries, Turkey ranks fourth after Spain, Italy, and Greece.

Istanbul hosted 689,417 cruise tourists in 2013. Culture and Tourism Ministry's Istanbul of 2023 targets include gaining new ports to Istanbul. Galata Cruise Port, Ataköy Cruise Port and Zeytinburnu Cruise Port are new ports planned for Istanbul.

Information details for Istanbul cruiser tourism.

Culture Tourism

Istanbul is the most powerful place for Culture tourism. You can easily come across cultural heritages of Istanbul in daily life on the streets due to Istanbul's 8500 years old history. Beside them, Istanbul is a live culture area with modern art museums, galleries, street performers, concert areas, films, dance and also with a variety of festivals. The places of worship such as churches and mosques, which are places of the daily life of the people of Istanbul throughout their ages, are also an important part of this cult. Istanbul becomes a cosmopolitan city throughout history, so that city reflect multiple nation's cuisines and also it has a modern cuisine sample. Gastronomy tourism in Istanbul is also an important part of cultural tourism.

Education Tourism

Istanbul is Turkey's leader in education with 62 universities. State and foundation universities, many of which offer English education, provide many foreign students from abroad every year.

Students who come to our city as a student of change or directly to study here are volunteer tourists who will play a role in the promotion of Istanbul abroad.

Health Tourism

World countries now recognize Istanbul as a rising medical tourism centre. Turkey has become the first choice of tourists because of its good doctors, easy transportation, high health technology and location. Istanbul has become the head health centre of Turkey because of its location between Europe and Asia. Istanbul combines its medical resources as like Wellness, Spa with five-star hotels and gives qualified and advantage tourism packages to health tourists. Tourists' needs who come to Turkey for health are met by specialist health personnel and agency authorities.

The quality of service of Turkey's health institutions is also approved by international organizations such as JCI (Joint Commissions International), JCAOH (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

Sports and Nature Tourism

Although, Istanbul is not the first choice for Nature and Sports tourism, Çatalca and Şile districts of Istanbul good place for this tourism. There are a lot of activities as like, nature walking, off-road, orienteering, cycling, paragliding, bird watching in Şile and Çatalca.

1-Golf Tourism

There are two Golf fields qualification to use. One of them in Silivri and the other in Sarıyer.


There is a lot of paragliding area for a professional and amateur athlete.

Çatalca: Çatalca is a good place for new starters.

Karaburun: This place suitable to rise and to fly with North winds.

Aydos: It is a place where the southern winds dominate.

Çiftalan: It is a field with a lot of north winds.  It is difficult to descend because it is a steep slope and there is not too much flat on the ground.

Silivri: An area that is used as an alternative in times when there is a lot of wind in Çatalca.

3-Bird watching

Büyükçekmece Lake:

The lake has an important bird area status with a large number of water birds, especially Elmabaş. Silver gulls in winter but small gulls and Mediterranean gulls can be seen in the spring.


The best places to see bird migration in spring and autumn are the Sarıyer ridges in Europe and the Small and Big Çamlıca in Asia.

Şile islands:

The four islands situated at the port entrance of Şile district of Istanbul on the shores of the Black Sea. The area here gains important bird area status with the breeding peaked cormorant population. The majority of them are hugging the largest island and the island east of it.

4-Plant analysis

Belgrade forest:

Belgrade Forest is a forest formed by numerous tree and plant species in winter. The first order among the trees is oak. Then the most common type of tree is eastern beech, common hornbeam, and Anatolian chestnut.

Atatürk Arboretum:

There are more than 1500 plant species. There are a rich maple and oak collection. There are also many onion plant species.



Küçükçekmece duck and wild goose near the lake. There are ducks and geese around Alibeyköy Dam Lake. There are wild boars in the Belgrade Forests near Kemerburgaz.


In the northwest, Yalıköy region was designated as the production area of roe and pheasant. Durusu (Terkos) Lake is the habitat for ducks and wild goose. The fly region is designated as the pheasant protection area.


The north-eastern border of Beykoz has rabbits and foxes, and rarely mountainous parts. There are geese and ducks around Ömerli Dam Lake and wild boar in forested areas.

Other protected areas in the city are:

  • İstanbul-Sarıyer-Feneryolu- Wildlife protect area
  • İstanbul-Çatalca, Yalıköy (Çilingöz) -Wildlife protect area
  • İstanbul-Arnavutköy-Şamlar Ağaçlandırması) -Wildlife protect area
  • İstanbul-Silivri, - Fly Pheasant Placement
  • Göknarlık -Natural protecting area
  • Polonezköy –Natural park
  • Türkmenbaşı-Natural park (Hacıosman Natural park)
  • Subaşı Havuzlar Çınarı -Natural monument

Thermal Tourism

There is a lot of destination for thermal in Turkey, such as Yalova, Afyon, Ankara.

Tuzla İçmeler (Thermals)

Tuzla İçmeler, 2 km far away from the Tuzla district centre and these are two separate sources next to the sea. Big thermal, near to the sea and has intensive mineralization. Small thermal, 300m far away from the sea. Thermal water is potable and includes rich minerals. These minerals are calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, sulphate. This thermal is good for digestive system and urethra.


Can I drive in Turkey?

Driving is on the right-hand side. Visitors can drive with their international driving license. If you choose to rent a car and drive in Turkey, you should have your driving license, passport and insurance documents of the vehicle.

Can I use my mobile phone and my country’s GSM operator in Turkey?

You can use your mobile phone in Turkey if your provider has enabled international roaming. The well-known Gsm operators in Turkey are Turkcell and Vodafone. If you will stay in Turkey for a long time, maybe you should buy a local SIM card. Take your phone and passport to one of the Turkish mobile phone shops, they will register your new SIM card with your phone’s IMEI number and personal information.

Can Turkish people speak English?

English is the second spoken language in Turkey. Especially in a tourist place, you can easily find someone to speak English.

Do I need any vaccinations before going to Turkey?

There is no mandatory for vaccinations before travelling to Turkey.

Are there any rules for dress in Turkey?

There is no rule. If you are on a beach holiday resort you can wear a comfortable dress. In the city, you can wear a T-shirt, shorts, trousers, blouse, skirts, etc. If you are visiting mosques, you should take off your shoes and women should cover their hair and bodies.

I will be flying to Europe. I know that our aircraft will land in İstanbul. I am not planning to leave the transit lounge. Do I need to get a transit visa?

If you will not leave the transit lounge at the airport you are not required to have a transit visa. Otherwise, you must make a visa application to the nearest Turkish Representation. Contact information of the said missions can be reached through (Ministry/Turkish Representations).

I would like to visit Turkey, where can I find information about visas and application requirements? 

Please visit internet address to find out about visa application formalities. You can also obtain information from the Ministry’s internet website; or contact the Turkish missions in your country (please follow the link:

What are the opening hours of shopping centres in Turkey?

In Turkey, shopping centres are open every day offering a variety of trademarks and services from usually from 10.00 am until 22.00 pm.

What are the opening hours of pharmacies in Turkey?

Pharmacies are open across the country every day from 09.00 – 19.00 except for Sunday. One pharmacy, however, is open 24/7 in each neighbourhood by the time the others are closed.

What are the opening and closing times of museums in Turkey?

All the museums in Turkey are closed on Monday and are open to visitation from 9:00 to 17.00 on the other days.

What kind of sockets are used in Turkey?

European two-pin sockets are widely used in Turkey.

Will I able to use local cash machines in Turkey?

Cash machines (ATM) are available to use in all Turkey and Cash machines have English and Arabic language option.  Mostly European credit and bank cards are available to use.  Inform your bank before travelling to Turkey.

You can also use your debit and credit card in shops and restaurants but using cash is advisable especially for smaller shops.


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