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 :)
Road signs used to be a problem. now they got common and useful. Ozanbaba 13:24, 17 June 2010 (EDT)
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.
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. 126.96.36.199 01:41, 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.
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
i don't drink the tab water but i drink faucets. Amy is right tab water does not taste well, but it got less chlorinated over the years. by the way most of the water source of the faucets are indeed different. they are usually underground water sources. (in kadıköy, mostly kayışdağı is the main source.) Ozanbaba 13:23, 17 June 2010 (EDT)
I've been in Istanbul well over a week now now. The water at one hotel tasted truly awful and I almost vomited (I left that hotel mostly because of that). The water at another hotel is pretty bad, but swallowable. In both cases I think it's the pipes, since the water at another hotel tasted fine, as does the water from the hand-washing fountains that are everywhere in the old city. Personally, I think the public water supply tastes better than bottled water. I had an old man warn me against it today, which is why I came here, but I've been drinking the water here my whole time with no problems. I think the Turks warn against it for the same reasons the Koreans and Mexicans in cities where the water *is* drinkable (that varies widely in Mexico), warn against the water--it used to be undrinkable, and old habits die hard. ~ Arthur (188.8.131.52 14:05, 27 August 2011 (EDT))
Is it possible now to travel completely by rail from the airport to Levent? (ASM)
stray cats in Sultanahmet
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:
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)
Actually it is always said that the highest concentration of stray cats in Istanbul is in Cihangir, a district near Taksim.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Okay. So here is the districts list as we have it now:
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’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:
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.
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.
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 184.108.40.206 (talk • contribs)
There's no free testing or treatment facilities for STDs, and also no anon. testing. Best bet is to go to another country for this (sorry). You can also donate blood and they'll test you for HIV and a few other blood-born STDs. As for medical help, again, there's no free clinics, except for rabies vaccines. However, city hospitals are quite affordable, though the level of service may vary based on hospital; private hospitals will have staff that speaks English, but they are more expensive. Does this section need to be added -- I can if so. 220.127.116.11 07:11, 23 May 2011 (EDT)
Upon arriving I saw that the visa-stickers for EU-citizens are overstamped and the price is now 15 euro.
Race, Ethnicity and Religion
People living in Istanbul like myself clearly and definitely know that "Istanbul is not famous with having a great tolerance on different cultures, ethnicities and religions." as the contrary stated within the article. I don't believe so.
If you are black, people will stare at you. A nearly racist statement in the article says that "most of the black people who settled in Istanbul have a poor economical background". So, how can people understand what others have in their wallets? Also, is it a good reason "to have a negative attitude towards black people"?
If you have something that identifies your culture, ethnicity, religion or preference on you, people will try to avoid having a conversation/relationship with you. Also, people may consider the abnormal as a sign of disrespect against their ethnicity or religion.
The fact that people will stare at you with smiling faces doesn't at all mean that this is tolerance. Tolerance is entirely something else. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 18.104.22.168 (talk • contribs)
Patso consists of only french fries. artiz is the one consists of hotdog and french flies. of course it's not sold as artiz, i saw patsosis, patso sosis and similar ones (sosis=sausage)Ozanbaba 13:32, 17 June 2010 (EDT)
Thanks to someone who posted information about the scam. I was almost tricked into it today near Sirkeci train station, so I modified the entry a little bit. —The preceding comment was added by 22.214.171.124 (talk • contribs)
Language and the Hijab
I have two main questions for you Wikiers -
How much Turkish is it recommended to know before I travel to Istanbul? I understand its good to know numbers and common phrases, but do some districts have a higher percent of people/vendors that speak English than others?
And also, as a female I have heard from some people I know who travel that often when traveling to Islamic countries they will wear a Hijab for both protection for themselves and to not blatantly stand out as a tourist. Will it be odd for me, an English-speaking woman, to walk around the city not wearing one? Would you recommend I wear one, just because?