MEETING OF CIVILISATIONS You’ve arrived in Istanbul… A city of serenity, where East and West meet; where North and South embrace… In the shade of a cultural tree spanning thousands of years, whose roots hail back to the fountain of wisdom of these ancient lands. A world capital built on an inheritance of great empires, divine religions, and innumerable culturesand civilisations. Welcome…
Istanbul has been the capital of four empires: the Roman Empire (330-395), the Byzantine Empire (395-1204), the Latin Empire (1204-1261), the Byzantine Empire (1261-1453) and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). Istanbul’s history is very rich, and remains of each of these empires can still be witnessed.
In Istanbul century old buildings stand near modern skyscrapers There are mosques, churches and synagogues in the same area. Liberal and conservative Muslims peacefully live side by side, together with people from a dozen other religions or beliefs. However, they all have one thing in common: the world famous Turkish hospitality.
» Arriving and departing from Istanbul
You can travel to Istanbul by bus, train, boat or flights, the best option will depend on where you are coming from. All the major budget airlines fly to Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Airport.
» Visa formalities
On the Turkish Visa Information website you can check all the rules, the fees and how to get your visa on arrival.
How to Get Your Turkish e-Visa Online: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/
» Where to stay in Istanbul
Istanbul has over 4 thousand hotels, hostels, guest houses, and flats. You can also get contact our partner Casali Tour.
Casali Tour is available to plan your travel before and after the event and your accommodation during the event and to ensure the highest quality service you may need.
» What to do in Istanbul
Istanbul is plenty of tourist attractions, from ancient ruins, palaces, worldwide famous mosques, narghile bars and endless shops inside the Grand Bazaar. So many things to do and see that you will need time and energy to visit it all. To help you to organize your first trip to Istanbul here goes a list of some places you should not miss.
- Blue Mosque
- Hagia Sophia
- Topkapı Palace
- Basilica Cistern
- Grand Bazaar
- Spice Bazaar
- Suleymaniye Mosque
- Galata Tower
- Dolmabahçe Palace
- Taksim Squareand İstiklal Ave
- Bosphorus Boat Tour
- Sunset at Uskudar
» Eating & drinking in Istanbul
Welcome to the paradise of food, sweets, and teas. The streets of Istanbul are packed with kebab stalls, cozy restaurants, teas, and coffee shops.
One thing you have to keep in mind is: Try Everything!! Food is not expensive in Turkey, even in a nice restaurant in Istanbul you would not pay a fortune for a good meal. Local dinners can be found around Taksim Square and at Istiklal Street. As for dessert, the traditional baklava with ice cream or some Turkish delights are a must.
The City with Vibrant Nightlife
Thanks to Istanbul’s unique geographical location many the top nightlife venues are located by the Bosphorus or on a rooftop offering a view of the magnificent skyline. The nightlife is vibrant, with an abundance of choice to satisfy everybody’s taste.
Shops galore in Istanbul. You can go luxurious and mainstream by a visit to one of the many modern shopping centers spread all over the city. Or you can hunt for authentic, handmade items by local designers and craftsmen in less touristic parts of town.
If you like to bargain, then the Grand Bazaar is of course shopping heaven on Earth. Also, don’t forget to stock up on exotic spices, olives or the great selection of nuts available.
Public, National and Religious Holidays in Turkey
Tuesday, 1 January
New Year’s Day (Yılbaşı) – National Holiday – First day of the new year.
Tuesday, 23 April
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (Ulusal Eğemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı) – National Holiday – Commemoration of the first opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara (1920). Dedicated to the children.
Wednesday, 1 May
Labor and Solidarity Day (Emek ve Dayanışma Günü) – National Holiday.
Sunday, 19 May
Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth & Sports Day (Atatürk’ü Anma Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı) – National Holiday – The arrival of Atatürk in Samsun in 1919, the beginning of the War of Independence. Dedicated to the youth.
Monday, 3 June
Sugar Feast’s Eve (Ramazan Bayramı Arifesi) – Religious Holiday – ½ day.
Monday, 15 July
Democrasy Day – National Holiday – Celebrating foiled coup attempt.
Saturday, 10 August
Feast of the Sacrifice’s Eve (Kurban Bayramı Arifesi) – Religious Holiday – ½ day.
Sunday, 11 – Wednesday, 14 August
Feast of the Sacrifice (Kurban Bayramı) – Religious Holidays – Four-day festival where sheep are sacrificed/slaughtered and their meat is distributed to the poor.
Friday, 30 August
Victory Day (Zafer Bayramı) – National Holiday – Victory over the allied forces during the final battle in Dumlupınar in 1922, ending the War of Independence. Dedicated to the armed forces.
Sunday, 6 October
Liberation of Istanbul (İstanbul’un Kurtuluşu) – Regional Holiday – Anniversary of the liberation of Istanbul by Turkish armed forces during the War of Independence.
Monday, 28 October
Republic Day’s Eve (Cumhuriyet Bayramı Arifesi) – National Holiday – ½ day.
Tuesday, 29 October
Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayramı) – National Holiday – Anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.