Istanbul lies at the very core of Europe’s second-largest metropolitan areas and is Turkey’s economic pulse and its cultural and historical heart. Istanbul’s vivid colors, spice markets and flag-adorned streets, its souks and mosques, intermingled with magnificent Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, provide a vibrant visual palette. The city’s topography veils breathtaking vistas that are revealed in their full splendor when you reach the top of its many hills.
Surrounded by water, Istanbul in summer can be humid and the city is regularly shrouded in fog. Often crowded and fast paced, the brisk pace of business in the Levent district on the European side gives way to calmer residential areas, such as Erenkoy, Bostanci, and Ataşehir on the Asian side. Singles and couples can revel in Istanbul’s vivacious nightlife, while families will find a selection of excellent private schools and a huge choice of activities for kids on the weekends, from exploring the watery wonders of the Basilica Cistern to riding a submarine at Rahmi M Koç Museum.
What is special or unique about your city?
Turkey is known as the "European gateway to Asia." Three percent of the country lies in Europe (Thrace) and 97 percent lies in Asia (Anatolian plateau). Mount Ararat lies in the east of Turkey and is believed by many to be the resting place of Noah's ark.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Istanbul is a bustling and busy city and one of the most densely populated in Europe. As a result, the traffic appears chaotic and disorganized.
Are these impressions likely to change?
It can take some time for people to settle in but the hustle and bustle is generally easier to live with once you experience the friendliness and warmth of the Turks and see another side to the city.
What is the local language?
The local language is Turkish.
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
English is a common business language but some basic words and phrases are essential in day-to-day life.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
Most Turks remove their shoes as they enter a home as a sign of cleanliness. Turks like to be the ones to pay and will almost never take money from someone for sharing a meal or drink. People generally take turns paying.
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
The temperature can drop below freezing in the winter and can bring heavy snow falls between December and March. Mid-30 degrees Celsius (mid-80 degrees Fahrenheit) is the usual temperature during the summer. The seasons are very distinct, so proper clothing must be considered.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Istanbul is an interesting and historical city in which to live, offering a variety of ways to entertain families and single people alike.
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