It's been more than 500 years since Turks got Constantinople. It is Istanbul since then.. Time to wake up from the Asia Minor Dream.
Turks somewhat could not keep Greek Heritage well but it is the same in every country. Every temple in Italy turned
into churches. Unlike Turks , Greeks destroyed almost every architecture that reminded them the Ottoman Existence.
I don't want to get into too much Politics otherwise this thread will be moderated.
-Visit http://www.dsdrefund.com/FAQ.HTML for tax free shopping guidelines.
Bargain at Carpet / Leather shops. They are obligated to give a invoice by the law.(you'll get tax refund with this)
When you bargain do not forget to state that you want a receipt.
-Stay away from single/a group of young males who is not well dressed.(Shoe shiners are OK though)There are young guys who live on streets.They use drugs/glues/ dye thinner and sometime roam around high..They may be too brave..You probably won't see any but I wanted to state as a warning.
-A Carpet/Jewellery shop is most likely a rip off if it is a part of your excursion.Shop locally instead..Bargain ....bargain...bargain...
-Do not carry excess bags with you. When I travel , I don't even carry a wallet. I put a few credit cards and some money in my jeans front packet.
-Your drivers license is valid in Turkey and you can use it as an ID. (you need to carry your passport but cops are very helpful even though most do not speak English. Those on motorbikes are better educated and most speak English.
-Your health insurance is most likely also valid in Turkey. Contact your provider before you travel.
-Dentist cost the way less than here. Good quality..Also Lasik Surgeries.For Urgent Dental Issues, You can get reimbursed when you get back here. Just ask a English statement with details of each operation.
-Most stores ( touristic shops) accept $$s but it is best that you exchange them to Turkish Lira since stores won't offer you a good exchange rate.
-Hamam . Turks have been offering public bathrooms. It is an old tradition but some people go there for kese(removing dead skin from your body by a using a special washcloth). A guy will be doing it if you are uncomfortable with this, you can get the supplies and ask your gf/wife do it for you.
-Barbar - Take a haircut even if you do not really need it. Haircuts in Turkey is great. Here my wife cuts my hair because I could not get any hairdresser who does a good job. .They also remove facial hair from your ears..Some use a burning stick with alcohol but it is safe..Also get a massage.They will do it without you asking to get some tip anyway.
-Tips are not required as it is in here. If you do not enjoy the service you do not have to tip..%10 is what usually is expected.
-Gps/ Maps - You can find Garmin, IGO etc maps for Turkey. Def. load on your phone before you go there. Also there may be some apps for istanbul. Search it..
-CDMA phone are not compatible in Turkey. For gsm phones, Turn off your 3G. Or you may get a outrageous bill. Also get battery extender (from AA batteries to micro/mini usb etc if you are gonna be using your phone as a gps.
-Try Turkish Cousin..I recommend
Doener (Similar the Gyros but the way better)
Different Types of Cheese and Olives (if you like them)
Lahmacun (Turkish pizza. You can have with ground beef or cheese )
You can also have English Breakfast.(with bacon)
Fried Squids (Here they are like rubber)
Fishes (Fishes taste like Fish..They are not fed with corn as it is here)
Turkish Cousin includes almost everything you can find in Greek Cousin since they lived 400 years together.They also have
some middle eastern styles too esp. in Kabob varieties. They usually use garlic and onion often. Sometimes you do not feel the garlic in a dish but you do once it gets digested.
If you like eggplant, Turkish Cousin offers VERY yummy dishes ..I recommend Ali Nazik
For Baklava, the best one is GulluogluGulluoglu
Also Pops in Turkey use real sugar.I think they taste better.I liked bottled waters in Turkey more.You can buy a spring water with a low Hardness level. If you are a water lover, Try Erikli brand.
You can get an account thru 12voip.com and get a Turkish GSM card and ask your friends to call you thru 12voip.com. You can use the software to call US for free. They can call ur local cell# for 2 euro cent or hotel # for .7 euro cent (x 1.5 for $ cent)
Turkey is +7 hours from Eastern Time.
Sorry for typos..I hope that I've been helpful. I will edit this post if I come up with something else.