Istanbul is bounded on the north and the south by two seas, the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, respectively. The western half of the city lies in Europe while the eastern half is situated in Asia; in between the two halves flows the Bosphorus Strait. Istanbul, representing the Asian city nearest Europe and the European city closest to Asia, is a leading port whose importance is stressed by the age-old trade routes passing through the Bosphorus.
Istanbul enjoys four seasons. Spring in April and May is generally cool and brief. June exhibits traces of spring and hints of summer. The temperature in July and August averages 30° C. with high humidity. Fall is leisurely, lasting from September to December.
The temperatures are moderate—swimming in the sea till the end of September is not unusual—but it rains frequently. The weather is chilly between December and March but not severe (average temp. 5° C.). Only a few days are snowy with freezing temperatures.
Overview of Turkey
Capital: Ankara Area: 780,000 sq. k.
Population: 72.3 million Official Language: Turkish
Currency: New Turkish lira International Telephone Code: 00+9
Two Islamic holidays occur annually, both movable feasts according to the lunar Hijri calendar: the holiday following the month of fasting, Ramadan (this year, 12–14 October) and the Feast of Sacrifice (this year, 20–23 December). On these holidays, all government offices and banks are closed.
The Hijri month of Ramadan, which bears great importance for Muslims, is observed by fasting between sunrise and sunset, with a communal breaking of the fast in the evening. During the month of Ramadan in secular Turkey, all bars, restaurants, and nightclubs are open as usual.
The national holidays are in honor of the founding of the republic on 29 October, the liberation of Istanbul on 30 August, 23 April national hegemony and children’s holiday, and 19 May the youth and sports holiday. Government offices and banks are closed on the day of the national holiday.
Throughout its history, Istanbul has maintained its position as the heart of the economy. The city today is the backbone of Turkey’s economy.
Istanbul generates 46% of the national exports and imports 40% of the total imports of Turkey.
The possessor of many positive features in terms of history and culture, Istanbul is making great strides towards becoming an international tourism center. In recent years, the city, by virtue of its accommodation and convention facilities, is also heading toward the top as a center of convention tourism.