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ABOUT TURKEY

TURKEY has been called "the cradle of civilization" and one can discover what this literally means only by traveling in this land of history. The world's first town, a neolithic city at Çatalhöyük, dates back to 6500 BC. Since the ancient times of Çatalhöyük to the present, Turkey boasts of a rich culture that through the centuries has left a lasting foot-print on modern civilization through the centuries.

Being the heir of many centuries of culture makes Turkey a paradise of knowledge and cultural heritage. Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans have all occupied crucial places in the historical background of Turkey and ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof to each civilization's unique distinction.

There is no doubt that one visit will not be enough, and you will want to come back again and again as you discover one extraordinary place after another. All of the places, no matter how different they are, have one thing in common that Turkey is a paradise of sun, sea, mountains and lakes that offer the vacationer a complete change from the stress and routine of everyday life. From April to October, most places in Turkey have an ideal climate that is perfect for relaxing on sandy beaches or enjoying the tranquility of mountains and lakes.

Turkey has so much to offer her visitors: breathtaking natural beauties, unique historical and archeological sites, steadily improving hotel and touristic infrastructure, a tradition of Hospitality and competitive prices. It is not surprising therefore that this country has recently become one of the world's most popular tourism destinations. Due to Turkey's diverse geography, one can experience four different climates in any one day. The rectangular shaped country is washed on three sides by three different seas. Its shores are laced with beaches, bays, coves, ports, islands and peninsulas. The summer season is lasting long as eight months in some areas.

Turkey is also blessed with majestic mountains and valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and grottoes perfect for winter and summer tourism and sports of all kinds.

Official Name

Republic of Turkey

Date of Foundation

October 29, 1923

Capital

Ankara

Largest Cities

İstanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Antalya, Bursa

Area

814.578 km2

Geographical Coordinates

Eastern Meridians 26° and 45° and Northern Parallels 36° and 42°

Coastal Borders

Mediterranean Sea in the south, Aegean Sea in the west and Black Sea in the North

Language

The official language is Turkish. However, English is widely spoken in majör cities.

Currency and Credit Cards

Turkish currency is the Turkish Lira, TL.

Banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 & 200

Coins: 5, 10, 25 & 50 Kuruş and 1 TL

You can obtain currency before travelling to Turkey or on arrival. Exchange rates are set daily by the Central Bank. Foreign money can be changed at banks during normal business days (09.00-17.00 Monday-Friday) as well as at hotels, at the airport and in exchange offices. TL is freely sold and bought in hotels, banks and special exchange offices called "Döviz Bürosu".

Major credit cards including American Express, Diners, MasterCard, and Visa are accepted in large hotels, car rental companies, restaurants and shops. You will need cash (TL) to pay for taxi fares, restaurants and coffee shops. You can get cash with your credit card or cash card by using cash machines (ATM's) in bank buildings or street booths.

Time Zone

GMT+2. CET +1. and EST (US -East) +7

Business Hours

The workweek in Turkey runs from Monday to Friday. Banks, government offices and majority of corporate offices open at 9 AM and close at 6 PM.

Public Holidays

There are two types of public holidays in Turkey; those fall on the same day each year and the religious festivals which change according to the lunar calendar and, therefore, fall on different dates each.

Passport and Visa

For 108 countries visas are easily obtained upon arrival to the airport and are required for citizens of most countries. However, passport and visa requirements may differ according to the country of origin. Please contact your travel agent or the Turkish Consulate or Embassy in your country for further advice.

For official visa procedure please visit the official webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Visa web page. www.mfa.gov.tr

Electricity

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

Communications

Turkey has three GSM operators, with all of them offering 3G services and almost over 95% coverage over the country. Internet service is available all around the country.

International Dial Code

+90

Taxis

Taxis are easy to spot as they are all bright yellow in colour. All have a taxi meter, and you should ensure that this is switched on at the beginning of your journey. If you are travelling outside the city boundaries it is usual to agree a fixed rate in advance.

Weather

For general information on the climate and up-to-date weather forecasts visit www.meteoroloji.gov.tr

Telephones & Fax

Prepaid telephone cards are a convenient way to make domestic and international telephone calls from public phones. They can be purchased at convenience stores and from vending machines for approximately 10 Euro. There are four international phone companies and their rates vary. Your hotel probably provides fax service at the front desk. Some convenience stores have fax services too.

Convenience Stores

Convenience store can be found on almost every city block. A variety of foods, drinks (most sell alcoholic beverages and cigarettes), toiletries, magazines, instant cameras, stationery, recording media, etc. can be purchased in these 24 – hours open stores.

Tipping, Charges & Tax

In places where service is not included, it is custom to tip for the table services you received. And even in the handful of places where service is included (just as on mainland Europe) the waiters will expect you to tip on top of that. The rule of thumb is to leave a tip worth 10% of the bill in restaurants, cafés and bars. But restaurants, cafés and bars are not the only places where tips are expected. It is also a custom to tip hotel staff, porters, hairdressers and musicians. The amount is at your discretion, but the norm is 2 TL per person. Tipping taxi drivers is not custom, unless he helped you load the luggage. A consumption Tax is included in the price of goods and services in Turkey. The prices displayed on goods usually include tax, but some retailers will add the tax at the cash register.

Smoking Policy

Please note that smoking is prohibited by law within the convention premises as well as in restaurants and public buildings.

For more photos of Turkey, please visit www.goturkey.com/en/galleries/gallery/119