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GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT TURKEY

Language
Turkish is a Ural-Altaic language related to the Finno-Ugric. Turkish is written in a Latin alphabet and spoken by some 150-200 million people around the world. English, German and French are widely spoken in cities and resorts.

Currency

The Turkish Lira (TL) is available in notes and coins. The exchange rate is determined daily; several banks and exchange offices are available. Traveler's checks can be cashed in most banks. Hotels and many shops and restaurants accept foreign currency. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that travelers can bring cash. Hotels, most restaurants and shops accept all major credit cards (American Express, VISA, MasterCard, Diners Club)
Tax: The current VAT rate in Turkey is 18% except for accommodation which is currently %8. Please note that these rates are subject to change.

Time zone
Turkey is in the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time (EET) is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).

Climate
Due to the variety of its physical features, Turkey possesses a mixed range of different climate types. The Mediterranean and Aegean coasts have mild winters and hot summers whereas the Black Sea coats have a wetter climate with rain all year round. The region of Marmara where Istanbul is located, climate is a combination of both with pleasantly warm spring and fall, with hot dry summer and relatively cold winter.

Electricity
Voltage in use is 220 V.

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

Opening and Closing Times
Banks are open weekdays; 08.30 am - noon and 1.30 pm - 5.00 pm. Mosques are usually open to the public except prayer hours. Museums are generally open Tuesday-Sunday 9.30 am - 4.30 pm and closed Monday Shops are closed all day Sunday except for large malls.

Turkish Hospitality
Hospitality is one of the cornerstones of the Turkish way of life. Turkish people are the most gracious and generous hosts as a result of their natural instincts. In every corner of the country such a traditional hospitality will meet you. Every individual feels bound to honor his guest in the best possible manner.

Turkish Cuisine

The Turkish Cuisine has the extra privilege of being at the crossroads of the Far East and the Mediterranean, which mirrors a long and complex history of Turkish migration from the steppes of Central Asia, where they mingled with the Chinese, to Europe where they exerted influence all the way to Vienna. All these unique characteristics and history have bestowed upon the Turkish Cuisine a rich and varied number of dishes, which can be prepared and combined with other dishes in meals of almost indefinite variety. Whether at home or at a famous restaurant or at a dinner in a mansion, familiar patterns of this rich and diverse cuisine are always present.