Thinking of traveling to Turkey? There have been commercials and newspaper ads by the Turkish tourism authority encouraging that you take your next vacation to Turkey, Istanbul in particular.
When traveling to a foreign country, it is important to learn a little more about the country and how to prepare for your journey. Here is your in and out guide to visit Turkey.
Turkey has a very rich 10,000 year history. Turkey is also a perfect country for romance and adventure. When closing out each day in the country it is typical to enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee and a slice of baklava.
When you are on vacation in Turkey, you will never run out of things to do. They are known for their beautiful and serene beaches. You can tour the area’s local vineyards. You can enjoy their modern, metropolitan city life and also their ancient Ionian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman roots.
One of the best cities to travel to is Istanbul. Istanbul contains Eastern, Western, and Mediterranean influences. Visitors are surprised by Istanbul’s similarities to Paris, London, Rome, and Berlin.
Visit the famous “Blue Mosque” which is known for its impressive blue tiles. It is just a few steps away from “Hagia Sophia”. “Hagia Sophia” is a mosque that contains beautiful Byzantine architecture.
The “Basilica Cistern” is arranged with Ionic and Corinthian marble columns that soar to 30 feet high.
The “Grand Bazaar” or “Kapali Carsisi” is in the center of the “Sultanahmet” district. It is an amazing sight that is full of an array of colorful carpets, ornate jewelry, hand-painted ceramics, embroideries, spices, and antique shops.
Visit the “Pamukkale” thermal pools. They are a landscape of beautiful calcareous white castles that have been formed by limestone-laden thermal springs. The water is said to have medicinal qualities that can cure such ailments as rheumatism and asthma.
The “Whirling Pervishes” that we see on television are an exciting treat. This spectacle of color is a Sufi ceremony which is said to form a union between the whirler and God. It is also a ceremony of religious purification. Even if you do not follow the Sufi tradition, you will enjoy the hypnotizing show of color and flowing fabric.
Before you go, it is important to follow certain steps. When traveling to Turkey, American residents require visas. Visas last for 3 months. For single entry there is a $26 fee (cash or money order) or an $87 fee for multiple entries. You can contact the Turkish consulate in Washington, D.C. or the Consulate General Offices in Los Angeles for full details.
The U.S. State Department can provide you with information on travel safety and precautions. They have suggested that U.S. residents register with the Embassy in Ankara or the consulates in Istanbul or Adana.
Travel insurance is strongly suggested. Unlike here in the United States, the doctors in Turkey will not see you without being paid. You will not receive treatment unless you have cash, a credit card or insurance.
Lastly, where you stay is important. If you want air-conditioning or fans you should stay in a 3-star or higher rated hotel.
“Hotel Cevri Kalfa” in Istanbul is along the tram way that will take you to the “Grand Bazaar” and the “Egyptian Spice Market”. It has beautiful views of the “Blue Mosque” and is next door to the “Old Bazaar”. English and French are spoken here. Rates are from $35-$50 per night.
“Hotel Turkuaz” is located in the heart of old Istanbul. It is one of the city’s oldest Ottoman mansions, which now serves as a 14-room quaint and hospitable hotel. It even has its own Turkish bath. Rates range from $50 – $80 per night.
“Hotel Valide Sultan Konagi” is on the high end in Istanbul. It is also an old Ottoman mansion. The rooftop restaurant on one side has a panoramic view of the sea and on the other side has beautiful views of the “Blue Mosque”. Rates go from $80 – $120 per night.
Turkey is a very beautiful, picturesque country that should be high on your list of countries to visit.
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