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Foreign Languages:
English, French, German, Italian and Spanish are widely spoken foreign languages in Istanbul.

Currency:
The monetary unit is the Turkish lira (TL), which comes in bank notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. In Istanbul, traveler checks are rarely accepted. ATMs can be found in even the smallest Turkish towns. Most international credit cards or bank cards are accepted (a strip of logos is usually displayed above the ATM). ATMs have a language key to enable you to read the instructions in English.

Fine & Dine:
The Turkish cuisine, which is one of the richest in the world, appeals to the eye as well as to the taste. Turkish food that is found today in Istanbul is truly a living synthesis of Eastern and Western and enjoys a very traditional background, enriched both by the sophisticated cuisine of the imperial palaces and the everyday eating practices of the common people.

In addition to the many restaurants that serve traditional and international menus to satisfy the varied tastes of their guests, many nightclubs, cafes and bars offer fine menus along with a wide range of entertainment choices.

Working Hours & Holidays:
Banks are open weekdays from 9 AM until noon and from 1 PM to 5 PM in the afternoon. Museums are generally open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM and closed on Monday.

Palaces are open the same hours but are closed on Thursday. In Istanbul shops and bazaars are normally open Monday through Saturday during the day, and closed all day on Sunday. But most stores in shopping malls and in common streets are open seven days a week. You can find restaurants or cafes open virtually at any time of the day or night during the week.

Communications:
Public phones operate with cards which are sold at post offices and some street booths. Some public phones have access to AT&T and some other telecommunication networks. Fax messages can be sent from major post offices and hotels. Cellular telephones can be hired.

Mailing:
The central Post offices are open Monday through Saturday from 8 AM to 9 PM, Sunday from 9 AM to 7PM. Smaller ones are open Monday through Friday between 8:30 AM and 5.00 PM.
Time Zone Turkish Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2)

Electricity:
The electrical current in Turkey is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take Continental-type plugs, with two round prongs.

Weight & Measures:
Turkey uses the metric system for weight and measures.

Driving License:
Most international driver's licenses are recognized in Turkey. Car rental companies require for a valid national or international license. Remember to keep to the right-hand side of the road and wear your seat belt at all times.

VAT:
The value-added tax, here called KDV is almost always included in quoted prices. Certain shops are authorized to refund the tax (ask).

Health Services:
There is no serious health risks associated with travel to Istanbul and to Turkey. No vaccinations are required for your travels to Turkey.

Safety & Security:
Turkey is a safe and secure country. The streets of Istanbul are considerably safer than many of its counterparts in the world.

August in Istanbul:
August is one of the best season in Istanbul with a warm climate approximately 32-35 degree Celcius during the day.