Turkey has developed a booming trade in vacation tourism over the last three decades; thus, extending the traditional Turkish warmth and hospitality to medical travelers is not a stretch. Health and wellness travelers see Turkey as a popular destination because of its natural thermal spa resorts and mud baths, which alone attract nearly a half million visitors.
While Turkey aggressively promotes to the Western medical traveler, English-speaking patients should be cautious of language barriers, and first gain comfort in a facility’s translation services.
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Turkey is an ideal tourist destination, with a bit of everything from the sun, sea, mountains, and lakes and certain to be a complete change from the stress and routine of everyday life. From April to October, the Istanbul climate is absolutely perfect for relaxing on sandy beaches or enjoying the tranquility of mountains and lakes.
Turkey is surrounded by sea on three sides, by the Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean in the south and the Aegean Sea in the west. In the northwest there is also an important internal sea, the Sea of Marmara, between the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, important waterways that connect the Black Sea with the rest of the world.
Because the mountains in the Black Sea region run parallel to the coastline, the coasts are fairly smooth, without too many indentations or projections. The length of the Black Sea coastline in Turkey is 2,664 miles, and the salinity of the sea is 17%. The Mediterranean coastline runs for 2,634 miles and here too the mountain ranges are parallel to the coastline.
Turkey also has a vastly rich history, and is a land full of historic treasures from 13 successive civilizations spanning 10,000 years. One visit will not be enough, and you will want to come back again and again as you discover one extraordinary place after another. You will also be amazed by how friendly and hospitable the people of this unique country are. [top]
Embracing two continents, one side reaching out to Asia the other to Europe, Istanbul is one of the truly great romantic cities of the world. In the city’s heart, the Bosphorus strait, course the waters of the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn. The former capital of three successive empires – Roman Byzantine and Ottoman-today Istanbul honors and preserves the legacy of its past while looking while embracing the modern era.
Although thousands of years have passed, Istanbul still maintains its geographical importance. Today Istanbul is a huge metropolis connecting continents, cultures, and religions and being home to eleven million people; and one of the greatest business and cultural center of the region. [top]
Turkish is the official language. Other minor languages include English, Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, and Greek. [top]
99% of the Turkish population is Muslim (Sunni). However, Turkey’s geographic proximity, bridging Eastern Europe and Western Asia, has molded this country into a highly tolerant and adapting civilization. [top]
In Istanbul, summer temperatures average around 82-86 degrees; the winters are chilly but usually above freezing, with moderate rain and perhaps a dusting of snow. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit Turkey, as the climate is almost perfect in Istanbul. Visiting before mid-June or after August may also help you avoid mosquitoes. The Black Sea coast is best visited between April and September; there will still be rain but not so much of it. [top]
Light, cotton summer clothing and cardigans for evening are suggested along the Marmara, Aegean, and Mediterranean coasts. Along the Black Sea, Central and Eastern Anatolia, summer wear, warmer clothing should be taken for cool evenings at high altitudes. Comfortable shoes are necessary for visiting archeological and historical sites. Sun hats and sunglasses are advisable in the summer. Women for visiting mosques should wear headscarves. [top]
A Subscriber Identity Module Card (SIM Card) is now available for Turkey and foreign customers who are traveling around. The SIM Card must be used in conjunction with a Digital GSM mobile phone within the 900-MHz range or a Digital PCN mobile phone within the 1800-MHz range. [top]
Getting Online & Checking E-mail
Most hotels offer Broadband Internet connection. And, Cyber-cafés are widely spread throughout the country. [top]
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Health Emergency 110
Registration for International calls 115
US Embassy in Ankara (90) 312-455 5555 [top]
Activities in Istanbul
Please be advised that you may not be able to participate in certain activities after receiving your medical treatment. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the appropriate activities in which you can participate. [top]
On your visit to Turkey, a visit to the hamam is a must experience. Like the harem, this Roman and Byzantine tradition was adopted and then perfected by the Selcuk Turks, for whom the public bath took on an important role. It was not only a place where believers could fulfill the Islamic precept of cleanliness. It was a place in which to mingle, socialize and gossip. Women would proceed from their harem to the hamam with great ceremony, accompanied by servants heavily-laden with delicacies to tide the ladies over the hours they would spend lounging in the steam. The young women used this opportunity to show off their ornately embroidered towels and ivory inlaid slippers, not to mention their youthful figures, while older women would spot potential wives for their sons. Men would discuss the latest court scandal or talk business and politics. Contrary to popular ideas, hamams have always been either permanently designated for one of the sexes, or have a separate schedule for men and women. [top]
Istanbul is an absolute shoppers paradise. Here you will find a plethora of authentic bazaars, rug(carpet) and kilim workshops besides other traditional handicraft centers. The most well-known shopping center is Kapalicarsi, The Grand Covered Bazaar of Istanbul. The Spice Bazaar is also in the neighborhood.
World famous Turkish rugs and kilims are uncomparable in respect of quality and beauty. Turkish leather and textile products reflecting the latest fashion are attracting visitors of malls with reasonable prices. The origins of jewellery go back to the neolithic age in Anatolia. Several designs have been created combining the ancient styles with those of the future. Silver and gold jewellery with precious stones are most popular items of shopping in Turkey.
A number of art and antique galeries in the neighborhood of the Grand Bazaar. They sell rare pieces of Ottoman engravings, silverware, needlework, illuminations, ceramics & tiles, paintings and contemporary art. Visiting the various merchants is highly recommended.
Another valuable item for shopping is hand-painted ceramics and porcelain, which is originating from Iznik, Istanbul & Kutahya. This traditional art presents many samples over hundreds of years to international collections. A number of souvenir shops offer a wide range of popular gift items at attractive rates, such as laces, kanavice (canvas embroidery) yemeni (colour print cotton scarves), copperware and gifts made of brass and marble.
There are several shops and fashion boutiques at different malls in several cities. Galleria Atakoy, Akmerkez, Capitol in Istanbul, Karum and Atakule in Ankara, Oasis in Bodrum are some of these shopping malls. In these malls you can easily find modern shopping items at very attractive rates besides well-known brands from fashion centers of the world.
Shopping is very easy since you can use all major credit cards, if you do not wish to pay cash. Many shopkeepers and other staff in retail shops speak English and they are attentive and willing to show and introduce their goods. Shopping in Turkey is a part of a great vacation. [top]
It’s actually worth travelling to Istanbul for the food alone. Turkish cuisine is the very hearth and soul of easthern Mediterranean cooking, requiring the highest qualily ingredients and careful preparation. From delicious mezes to elaborate vegetarian and seafood dishes, Istanbul will delight your pallate and budget at the same time. During you stay, you have to try Haci Abdullah’s, This Istanbul institutions, which was established in 1888, is often reputed to be the best in the city. [top]