10 Things You Might Want to Know About Istanbul and Turkey

This article is a 10-point trivia list about Istanbul and Turkey- written by an Istanbul resident: features traffic, weather, culture, nightlife, languages and more.

1. Istanbul has a population over 15.000.000.

2. It has a rather unique quality: the city lies on both continents at the same time: The big majority of the city lies on Asia and a small percentage lies on Europe.

Istanbul, Turkey

3. The official language is Turkish and the most popular foreign language is English.

4. While the majority of the country is Muslim, the degree of how religious people are or if they are even religious at all depends from individual to individual. You will see women in turbans but more often than not, you will see women dressed quite casually and freely - So the blonde whose underwear you can see from her short skirt is likely to be Turkish and a Muslim as well as the woman whose hair is all covered up.

5. Public displays of affection are OK. Some people might frown upon it, but you’d be surprised at how many couples are openly making out at coffee shops.

6. Note that Turkish people carry out varying characteristics contributable to its geographical position and neighboring countries. Turkish people have Asian, European and Mediterranean characteristics.

7. Although there have been some political conflicts with Greece in the past, Turkish and Greek people are only separated by religion – in fact, they are very similar in culture; including cuisine, music, games such as backgammon and more. If you have seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you might have an idea about an old-fashioned, traditional Turkish family as well. Just replace the church and baptism with circumcision. From a distance, you can’t tell who is Turkish and who’s Greek as they look alike as well.

8. Because of the population, you can almost always expect traffic. However you will be OK if you especially dodge the traffic rush hours that are from 6.30 am to 9.30/10 a.m and 5 pm to 9 pm. But don’t get shocked to leave a nightclub at 1 in the morning and encounter traffic on the way

9. The center of the night life with bars, pubs and night clubs are in Taksim. It is also culturally, religiously (and I include churches too) and shopping & diningwise a great center.

10. The humidity level is quite high, so you can almost always expect the weather to feel 10 degrees Celsius more or less than the weather predictions. You should always be prepared for warmer and cooler weather on the same day. Remember to wear a T-shirt under your sweaters in the winter and carry a sweater in the summer.

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