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Talk:Istanbul

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Revision as of 07:44, 3 August 2009 by 88.235.131.139 (Talk)

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Road Signs

It's not true that there's a lack of road signs in Istanbul. I'm from Bulgaria, first time I visit Istanbul by car few weeks ago. There's road signs practically on every crossing, so I didn't lost myself in anytime. (Par example, I did lost my self so often in Sofia, 10 times smaller than Istanbul). I do not use a GPS navigation, only a paper map of Istanbul. I found my hotel in Sultanahmed from the first try. The parking was adventure, but I found one place near the hotel and immediatelly use it :)

Safety

Istanbul is one of the safest metropols in the world.But you should be careful sometimes.Especially when you walk in crowded streets like Istiklal.(I do not recommend you to go there after 10pm)As for historical peninsula,it is safe too but sometimes sellers in the streets can be annoying.But if you have a Turkish with you especially a licenced tourist guide ,they do not come to you.Your guide can tell them to go away kindly in their own language:)and they understand.

Water Quality

The quality of tap water has considerably increased in the past decade. I think current tap water is drinkable. Well at least it is practically drinkable. 70.51.217.20 01:41, 22 June 2006 (EDT)

I'm not sure what "practically" drinkable could mean. --Evan 10:32, 22 June 2006 (EDT)

i live in istanbul, it is not drinkable ...

I am an American currently on a month long business trip in Istanbul. Not even the locals drink the water. All of the restaurants pour water only directly from the bottle. Outside of restaurants, bottled water is available virtually everywhere, including by merchants and Gypsie children who run around in the middle of traffic to sell it. In the places of the city where I have been, the water seems to be mostly clean. It does not have any funny odors or smell that are typical of many undrinkable water sources. I have found it perfectly acceptable for showers and brushing teeth so long as it is not swallowed. -Scott

Anyone who can afford to buy bottled water does. It is true that you won't get severly ill but it will give you an upset stomach. A bottle of water is 25 cents so why risk it. I think this should be changed and it should say that the water is not drinkable. Turks may be able to drink it but tourists should not. Every hotel I've ever been to has a sign in the bathroom saying not to drink the water. - Kelly

As a citizen, living in Turkey, I don't drink tap water. That has many reasons; first and most important of all is the uncontrollable suburbian living areas, located very close or around the water sources, and the pollution they create.

I was in Turkey August 2007. We often drank tap water in the better hotels (and no, I don't see what that has to do with the municipal water supply!). Out of a group of 34 only one "suffered" and I am not sure it was tap water that did it. We made a conscientious effort to buy bottled water, but it just wasn't always possible. Student7 22:03, 13 September 2007 (EDT)


Living in Istanbul I can say that the water is safe to drink, it however is so over chlorinated as to be unpleasent. Most people here continue to drink bottled water, myself included, because no matter how safe the city government says it is it still just tastes bad. Those who do not posses the mean to buy botled water can fill up their own containers from the corners faucets provided by the city government these are supplied by a seperate source or at least that's what they say. -Amy

Rail Travel

Is it possible now to travel completely by rail from the airport to Levent? (ASM)

yes, it is possible to travel from airport to levent and taksim and more ...


stray cats in Sultanahmet

Sultanahmet ... has a high number of stray cats, so in some parts of Sultanahmet in March..April you may be rocked to sleep by a lively feline chorus.

Can anyone living with deep knowledge of Istanbul districts confirm/deny that the number (or "density") of stray cats in Sultanahmet is much more than in the rest of the city?

BTW, originally this piece read like this:

Sultanahmet has a high number of stray cats, so no matter where you wind up sleeping you are likely to be rocked to sleep by a lively feline chorus.

and I assumed that it actually refers to some part of spring time, like March or April. However, we'd prefer real experience on dates this fact does/not apply to. --DenisYurkin 16:30, 20 January 2007 (EST)

Stray cats hang out wherever the tourists are as well as near the fish markets and Bosphorous. Sultanahmet has a dense population of cats in contrast to other parts of the city (I'd say 1 for every 100 square meters) but they leave you alone. I was there in December and the cats were everywhere - sleeping on rugs outside shops, inside the Hagia Sophia, begging for food outside the Archaelogy Museum but never heard this chorus at night.

Actually it is always said that the highest concentration of stray cats in Istanbul is in Cihangir, a district near Taksim.

Districtify

Any way you cut it, Istanbul is a "Huge City." It would be far better if this article could be made into a series of districts as is done for other cities in this class. Istanbul is an incredibly important and notable place, and it would be nice to run it as a Destination of the Month, but until a district structure is created and populated, it'll be hard to defend for DotM. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 11:22, 27 October 2007 (EDT)

And for Istanbul I vote for reaching consensus on which districts to create and which borders each of them has. We have detailed recommendations on this in Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Districts in cities. BTW, if you feel the recommendations are not perfect, we have a discussion to join. --DenisYurkin 15:25, 27 October 2007 (EDT)
I'm not suggesting we use administrative districts, but this will be a great base for a districts map. I know Istanbul reasonably well, and will try to come up with a structure. (But that won't get it to DotM quality alone!) --Peter Talk 05:59, 7 August 2008 (EDT)
I'm also working on a districtification suggestion and I'll post it here soon.--Vidimian 18:24, 7 September 2008 (EDT)
I stalled on my plan when I realized Istanbul is huge and I don't know it well enough. I'm looking forward to seeing your idea! --Peter Talk 21:31, 9 September 2008 (EDT)

Districtification suggestion

Sooner or later, Istanbul article will (have to) be districtified. Istanbul is so big, and attractions are so much (many of which are missing in the article by the way) that, it should already have been districtified in my opinion. Districtification will also help all parts of the city to get their due attention.

Anyway, before I’ve moved to some other place a few months ago, I had lived in Istanbul for seven years, so I assume I know the city pretty well. Here are my suggestions on Wikitravel districts of Istanbul. I am also writing here the official districts they correspond to make it clear. You can check them on this Wikipedia map of Istanbul Province (the unnamed section between Beyoğlu, Kağıthane and Beşiktaş on the map is also Şişli)

  1. Istanbul/Old City, or better Istanbul/Historical Peninsula as this is how it’s called in Turkish (Tarihi Yarımada). In the European side, between Marmara and the Golden Horn. From Seraglio Point (Sarayburnu) near Topkapi Palace in the east to all the way to city walls in the west. Also includes Sultanahmet Square. Likely to be the district with the biggest number of see/sleep listings. Official districts: Eminönü, Fatih
  2. Istanbul/Beyoğlu or Istanbul/Beyoglu: North of Golden Horn, includes Galata/Karaköy, Tophane, Cihangir, Beyoğlu, Istiklal Street, and Taksim Square. This will also likely to have lots of listings, especially in sleep/drink sections. Official district: Beyoğlu
  3. Istanbul/Golden Horn: Areas on the both banks of Golden Horn which are not covered by Istanbul/Historical Peninsula or Istanbul/Beyoğlu. Official districts: Eyüp, Kağıthane
  4. Istanbul/New City (this name sounds a little obscure, but I couldn’t find a better one): North of Beyoğlu/Taksim Square, the area along the subway line, including Nişantaşı and adjacent areas (Şişli, Maçka etc), and all the way to high-rise business district around Levent and Maslak in the north. Official districts: Şişli, upper parts of Beşiktaş
  5. Istanbul/Bosphorus or Istanbul/Bosporus (I don’t know which version is used more frequently in English): By this name, I mean not the body of water, but the areas located on its banks. In Turkish there is a different word for it (Boğaziçi, literally ‘inside the Strait/Bosporus’; while Boğaz is the Strait/Bosporus itself) but it seems it doesn’t have an exact English equivalent. This may be a transcontinental district which includes both banks of Bosporus or may be limited to European bank of Bosporus. If we disclude Asian bank, then we have to make up another name such as Istanbul/European Bosporus or Istanbul/European bank of Bosporus (or maybe Istanbul/Bosporus_(Europe)?). I know both names suck, but I can’t think of any better. Official districts: lower parts of Beşiktaş and Sarıyer in Europe; also Üsküdar and Beykoz if we decide to include Asian bank.
  6. Istanbul/Asian Side or Istanbul/Asian side (I don’t know which version is correct), may also be called Istanbul/Anatolian Side as it is how this place is usually called in Turkish (Anadolu Yakası), but I guess this usage is a little rare in English. Includes all of Asian side, except Üsküdar and Beykoz if we decide to put them in Istanbul/Bosporus. Official districts: All mainland districts east of Bosporus except Şile (which, actually, is a town fairly out of city and deserves its own/seperate city article, not a district one), and maybe except Üsküdar and Beykoz (see above).
  7. and finally, Istanbul/Princes’ Islands, those nine islands off the Asian coast of Istanbul. Official district: Adalar

As you can see from the map here, after all the district suggestions listed above, we still have a seemingly huge tract of land in the west of the city with no district allocated. They don’t have much to list on a Wikitravel article (except a few hotels, mainly near the airport, and maybe a few ‘see’ and ‘buy’), and a casual traveller will unlikely visit those places, so we may put them all together into one district article and call it something like Istanbul/Western Suburbs or Istanbul/Western suburbs (I don’t know which version is right). Official districts (east to west): Zeytinburnu, Bayrampaşa, Güngören, Bakırköy, Bahçelievler, Bağcılar, Esenler, Gaziosmanpaşa, Küçükçekmece, Avcılar, Büyükçekmece. Note: This article should not include Çatalca and Silivri, which, actually, are towns fairly out of city and should have their own/seperate city articles (if need be).

We may also have an additional stub article named Istanbul/European Side which includes (in isIn tags, for example) and provides links for all districts on European Side (i.e., all of them except Istanbul/Asian Side and Istanbul/Princes’ Islands). (but is it logical and technically possible that a district article to include other district articles?)

With this districtification layout, anywhere in the city is part of a district and we have no overlapping. These districts can also be further fragmanted into new districts with no problems if a need arises (for example, if Bakırköy occupies too much of Istanbul/Western Suburbs some day, then we can create Istanbul/Bakırköy and split the related content and leave Istanbul/Western Suburbs to other official districts it contains). These district suggestions are also in line with the different ‘spirits’ of the different areas of the city as well. For example, mostly Ottoman/Oriental-spirited Istanbul/Historical Peninsula is seperate from Istanbul/Beyoğlu with its late Ottoman/West-inspired spirit, which in turn is seperate from Republican era/High-rise Istanbul/New City.

I say, let’s start with Istanbul/Historical Peninsula, Istanbul/Beyoğlu, Istanbul/Asian Side, and Istanbul/Princes’ Islands at least. These have very clear geographical/historical/administrative borders that any opposition will be unlikely.

I volunteer for the work of sorting the existing listings into district articles and checking new listings on the city article (and relocate them into districts if it’s necessary) during a few next months after the districtification would have taken place. But I am not online very frequently (once every couple of weeks for example), so that process can be a little slow.

Also, as far as I can tell, many places are missing especially in see/drink sections. So, until districtification occurs (or until listings are more complete) I suggest to downgrade the status of this article to ‘usable’.

Any opinions? --Vidimian 09:55, 3 October 2008 (EDT)

Districts map draft
This looks great to me. I'm only familiar with three of the proposed districts, but they look absolutely correct to me. My thoughts:
  1. I prefer Istanbul/Old City to Istanbul/Historical Peninsula—the latter is more standard in English, and sounds more natural to my ear
  2. New City sounds fine to me, especially as it would parallel Old City
  3. My hunch is that we should separate the European and Asian divisions along the Bosphorus (and Bosphorus is about 2x more common than Bosporus according to Google), if for no other reason than that the Asian article will not have enough content without including Beykoz and Üsküdar.
  4. Istanbul/European Bosphorus sounds like a fine name to me.
  5. Maybe Istanbul/Asia would be a better name? That would convey what is meant clearly. Otherwise, use Istanbul/Asian Side, with the capital S.

I tried to put up a map of Istanbul's districts as you have defined them. If it is necessary to make changes, please let me know. --Peter Talk 11:57, 3 October 2008 (EDT)

My two cents: I think the areas of your districts are OK, but we should use more common names. The name doesn't have to cover the whole region, it's OK to call a district "X" and then define it as "X, Y and Z".
So, what you call "Historical Peninsula" is usually just "Sultanahmet" as far as tourists are concerned, and likewise "Galata" is better known than "Beyoglu". I would suggest moving Taksim out of the Beyoglu section, and renaming "New City" as "Taksim" instead.
We usually don't divide districts by water, so I'd prefer to avoid Bosphorus and Golden Horn: I don't have any better ideas though. Jpatokal 12:40, 3 October 2008 (EDT)

The map seems totally right, except that it needs two tiny changes: The islands (to the lower right of the map) should not be the same colour with Asian Side, as they really deserve their own district article. And as I tried to explain before, Şile (to the above right), and Silivri and Çatalca (both at left) should be greyed out, as they are not really part of the city of Istanbul, so they shouldn’t be given (or made part of) a district of the city of Istanbul.

Regarding the district names:

Galata may indeed be a better name (well, not better exactly in coverage, but better in the sense of being more known). But seperating Taksim from Beyoglu/Istiklal Street area doesn’t make much sense, as Taksim is the transport hub and the most major entry point for Istiklal Street area, and it’s impossible to think of Istiklal Street without Taksim Square, which is one of its two end points. If I were to name one of the proposed districts as ‘Taksim’, I would definitely give it to Galata/Beyoglu/Istiklal Street area. Naming the district (proposed as ‘New City’) which includes the high-rise business district in Maslak (approx. 12 km to Taksim Sq.) or the gentrified residential/commercial zone in Etiler (approx. 8 km to Taksim Sq.) as ‘Taksim’ would be overkill in my opinion.

Although it’s true that ‘Old City’/’Historical Peninsula’ is mostly Sultanahmet for tourists (as that is where most of the frequently visited historical monuments are), the name Sultanahmet is too narrow for such a big part of the city. ‘Old City’/’Historical Peninsula’ does offer way more than Sultanahmet Square, think about it: This part of the city is actually the Constantinople that fell. Even when a traveller with a knowledge of, for example Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque, comes to this page looking for these two, s/he’ll soon recognize that they should be situated in ‘Old City’ even if s/he can’t see any ‘Sultanahmet’ on distict names (and if s/he hasn’t been to Istanbul yet, it’s likely that s/he hasn’t ever heard about ‘Sultanahmet’). And I guess we’ll have short explanations next to the district names on the main Istanbul article, so we can mention there that the Sultanahmet that has been looked for is in ‘Old City’/’Historical Peninsula’. We can also have a redirect from Sultanahmet to ‘Old City’/’Historical Peninsula’. (‘Old City’ also sounds better to me too, I just proposed ‘Historical Peninsula’, because it’s the local name, and more inscriptive: geographically a peninsula, and also historically important)

‘Golden Horn’ can be avoided as it’s mostly Eyüp, with only a few sights out of it. But still, ‘Golden Horn’ is more inclusive, so if there is no rule against it, I’d prefer naming that district that way. Otherwise ‘Eyüp’ is just as fine. But I still really can’t think of a better alternative to ‘Bosphorus’.

‘Istanbul/Asia’ would be quite incorrect in my opinion, as that is not Asia really (well, of course it’s Asia, but only a very small part of it), and we already have an Asia article – which includes all the places between Üsküdar and Tokyo! Istanbul/Asia would be like subjugating all of Asia under Istanbul (am I getting too emotional?) I couldn’t figure out what’s the problem with side of ’Asian Side’, or why ‘Asia’ would better convey what is meant than ‘Asian Side’ but maybe that’s because I’m not a native English speaker. But I guess there are also ‘sides’ in English-speaking countries too, like New York’s Lower East Side. Also not to forget the fact that ‘Princes’ Islands’ are also in ‘Asia’, but not in ‘Asian Side’ as it’s generally used. (‘Asian Side’ = Mainland Asian Istanbul) --Vidimian 08:33, 5 October 2008 (EDT)

Assorted thoughts: One way to get the point across would be to call the district Sultanahmet-Old City—I do agree with Jani that it would be good to have "Sultanahmet" immediately visible in the districts list. Asian Side is fine, although I enjoy the humor of calling that section of town "Asia." And I don't have a problem with either Golden Horn or Bosphorus as names for districts, because if any city should be divided up by bodies of water, it is Istanbul. Plus Golden Horn is easier to remember for native English speakers. I also agree with Vidimian that Taksim shouldn't be separated from Istiklal. And with Jani that Galata is preferable to Beyoglu as a more commonly understood name for visitors to the city. I'll try and remember to make those corrections to the map soon. --Peter Talk 20:08, 9 October 2008 (EDT)

Can listing this way be a solution for the name of ‘Sultanahmet’/’Old City’ in the districts list of the main article:

By listing it this way, we will both have ‘Sultanahmet’ immediately visible, and also have a more inclusive name for the area and the article. This may also work for other districts too, for example:

and about Asia: I also find it tempting to call that area ‘Istanbul/Asia’, but I don’t know, it just sounds quite wrong… By the way, is ‘Istanbul/Asiatic Side’ better than ‘Istanbul/Asian Side’, since ‘Asian’ has some other meanings too, for example would seeing an ‘Asian Side’ imply that the area is some sort of ‘Chinatown’ (or similar) to eyes that are totally foreign to the city?--Vidimian 07:35, 16 October 2008 (EDT)

I think Istanbul/Sultanahmet-Old City would work as a district name just fine. For Galata, rather than make the name longer, we could just explain the contents in the district description, like this:
  • Istanbul/Galata — the hub of Istanbul's nightlife and dining scenes, including Beyoğlu, Istiklal Street, and Taksim Square
Though I'm sure you can come up with a better description than I just did! I think Istanbul/Asian Side is preferable—"Asiatic" would have the cultural connotations that you seek to avoid, while Asian sounds in this context pretty purely geographical. --Peter Talk 21:00, 18 October 2008 (EDT)

Okay. So here is the districts list as we have it now:

  1. Istanbul/Sultanahmet-Old City
  2. Istanbul/Galata
  3. Istanbul/Golden Horn
  4. Istanbul/New City
  5. Istanbul/European Bosphorus
  6. Istanbul/Western Suburbs
  7. Istanbul/Asian Side
  8. Istanbul/Princes' Islands

My only hesitation is about 'European Bosphorus'. Maybe naming that district as 'Bosphorus' and then explaining that it only includes European bank of Bosphorus would be better? Anyway, do we have to wait any longer to districtify the city (since only three people has ever left a comment on the issue), or should we plunge forward immediately? And other than creating a 'districts' section on the main article, and sorting the see/eat/drink/sleep listings into new district articles, is there anything else we should do to reformat this article to a 'huge city' article?--Vidimian 09:20, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

I think it's safe to plunge forward now—this looks like a pretty robust districts hierarchy. Maybe it's best to wait a couple days, but I think we've pretty much reached an end to this discussion. And I'm fine with calling the district simply "Bosphorus," since "Asian Side" should make it clear that all of Asian Istanbul is in that article.
The one big task in addition to sorting listings into districts will be to fill up the then empty sections of the main article with prose. E.g., the sleep section should have a couple paragraphs discussing which districts are appropriate for different kinds of visitors (sightseers, diners, business travelers, etc.), what types of accommodations are available where, and where to find good deals. The same goes for see, do, eat, and drink. I haven't finished working on the Washington, D.C. article yet, but I think the sections "see," "eat," "drink," and "sleep" are all good examples of how this should be done.
Lastly, a districts map would be useful so contributors know where to put listings. Could you leave me a message on my talk page to let me know exactly which changes to make to the map I created earlier. Maps of individual districts would be great too, but I can't help with that since there is no suitable base image for me to work from (that I know of). --Peter Talk 15:33, 20 October 2008 (EDT)

I’m taking the “districts discussion” notice off the page and plunging forward. I’ll write as much as I can do on some districts, and leave some others with only an introductory paragraph for now. I’ll also start with sorting sleep listings first.--Vidimian 08:19, 28 October 2008 (EDT)

Deletion- negative review

Hi. I deleted this review:

  • Anzac Wooden House, Cad. Konut Sk. NO:17 (Sultanahmet). Whatever you do, do not stay here. Though the rooms are clean, the are extremely noisy. Though they are quiet during the day, in the early morning a local gas company parks their truck right outside (everyday) and bang on the gas tanks to let everyone know they are there (somewhere around 5:30 in the morning). In addition to the ridiculous amount of noise the staff cannot be trusted and often try to rip you off on a variety of items, including your room price. They will often add people to you room without asking you and demand you pay a "check out" fee, which they say is justified because they made your sheets.

As it is such a negative review and the best way not to give the hotel business is not to mention them on wikitravel. Thanks. --MarinaK 14:13, 10 October 2008 (EDT)MarinaK.

Cope

I'm editing the Istanbul article and was struck by this comment in the Cope section- For mid-range and cheap hotels/restaurants, you may actually have a better time if you avoid places listed in your guide! Trust your nose.

I understand what the writer was trying to explain, but believe this comment is unnecessary and goes against what we are trying to achieve with our reviews. Can we please delete this comment? The intent of the original writer can still be conveyed through the wording before this paragraph. Thanks. --MarinaK 17:43, 10 October 2008 (EDT)MarinaK.

Actually, I think this section is dead on—this was my experience exactly. As soon as a place gets favorable reviews in popular tourist guides, particularly LP, the place is suddenly crawling with foreign tourists, touting of the review, jacked up prices, and terrible service. Wikitravel can hopefully avoid some of this problem by keeping the guides very up to date. That is, if a business owner tries this nonsense, a traveler can log on to Wikitravel and immediately remove the review. But this is important information—I learned within about a day and a half there to never go to any establishment listed in my heretofore reliable LP guide to Turkey. --Peter Talk 18:21, 10 October 2008 (EDT)


Hospitals and Clinics / Medical Info

I was wondering if anyone could add any info about hospitals, clinics, and medical centers for travelers, that are free or low-cost. Something specific: any info out there for STD testing, at a facility that doesn't charge an arm-and-a-leg. Are there any municipal health services that offer free testing and/or treatments? Where should foreigners even search for this information? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 78.181.61.145 (talkcontribs)

Visa

Upon arriving I saw that the visa-stickers for EU-citizens are overstamped and the price is now 15 euro.

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