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Revision as of 13:59, 3 October 2008 by Vidimian (talk | contribs) (Districtification suggestion)
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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. 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.


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)