Turkish is written in a Latin alphabet and is spoken by some 150-200 million people around the world. English and German and French are widely spoken in cities and resorts.
Currency, Banks and Exchane
In Turkey, the currency is the Turkish Lira (TL). Foreign currency can be exchanged at the airport, at banks which are open from 08:30 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 17:00 at private exchange offices which can be found throughout the city and open from 09:00 to 20:00 hrs.
The exchange rate is set on a daily basis but generally private exchange offices give better exchange rates for cash than banks.
Traveller’s checks can be cashed at most banks. Hotels and most restaurants and shops accept all major credit cards (American Express, VISA, Master Card/Euro Card, and Diner’s Club).
Liability and Insurance
Registration fees do not include the insurance of participants against personal accidents, sickness and cancellations by any party, theft, loss or damage to personal possessions. Participants are advised to take out adequate personal insurance to cover travel, accommodation, cancellation and personal effects. Congress organisers cannot accept liability for personal injuries sustained, or for loss or damage of property belonging to meeting participants, either during, or as a result of the meeting.
Sizes and Measures
Turkey uses continental European sizes for clothes and shoes. Food and drink are sold in metric measures.
Turkey is two hours ahead of GMT.
The electric current is 220V AC with a frequency of 50 Hertz. European standard plugs with two round pins are used. Most hotels have a receptacle with 110 volts.
Turkish Telecom Inc. is the only telecom service provider. All hotels have direct dial telephone systems in the rooms. Turkey has 3 GSM operators (Turkcell, Vodafone, Avea). Please consult your local GSM operator to find out if they have roaming agreement with Turkish Operators.
Post offices are open for general business from 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Saturday.
As the city is located on both continents and on a vast area, various transportation vehicles and methods are used in Istanbul, Istanbul offers an extensive mass trasportation network including metro, ferries, marmaray, light-rail, buses that go between two continents, under and over the sea. Five-in-one bus tickets and smart ticket devices used in almost all transportation vehicles and can be purchased from ticket booths all around the city.
Istanbul has a climate combining Mediterranean and Black Sea climate, with a hot dry summer and pleasantly warm spring and fall. Winters are cold but snow is rare. The vegetation is predominantly of the Mediterranean type. Average temperature is 19 – 22 degrees Celcius in the period of 10ᵗʰ International Conference on Biotherapy in Istanbul.
Istanbul has become like a Shopping Mall Paradise during the last years. The grand bazaar is the largest covered markets in the world with 60 streets and more than 3000 shops. A large variety of traditional carpets, jewels, gold, and leather goods can be purchased on the street in the tourist areas, or one can visit the city’s modern shopping malls where Turkish brand goods can be found. The shops are open from 8:00 to 21:00 from Monday to Saturday. The Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar open their gates at 8:00 and close at 19:00. The large shopping malls open from 10:00 to 22:00 seven days a week. Shops do not close for lunch.
Rich and delicious Turkish Cuisine is ranked as one of the top three in the world. You can find a great variety of mouth watering dishes in Turkish cuisine which is mostly the heritage of Ottoman cuisine. It is the mixture and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines. Therefore it is impossible to fit Turkish cuisine into a short list.
Because of its coastal location, fish is also popular although it is usually cooked simply, such as grilled, or fried with olive oil and lemon juice. Istanbul is the commercial and cultural centre of Turkey; and there are restaurants of many nationalities such as Korean, Russian, Italian, and Chinese. American-style fast-food outlets are becoming more popular, but for a quick snack it is more appropriate to fill up at the plethora of tiny takeaways offering kebabs and snacks. It is easy to sample good quality regional cuisine in typical small restaurants, usually at low cost, especially in the commercial and business areas.
Istanbul is alive 24/7, the city never sleeps. Beyoğlu area which is within walking distance to Congress center and hotels area is Istanbul’s nightlife hub, with an ever-growing portfolio of clubs, café-bars and live music venues which open, close and change name with bewildering speed.