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Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
There are some areas to avoid, and as long as common sense is used and travelers always remain alert, Turkey can be an exciting country to explore.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : N/A
Pickpocketing and bag snatching are common in all tourist areas, especially in Taksim Square, Sultanahmet, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar. The Süleymaniye Mosque is another area you should also be careful with your belongings. Children try to surround travelers to confuse them and distract them while one steals their money or goods. Keep your possessions attached to you at all times.
MUGGING RISK : N/A
Muggings and assaults have also been reported. Travelers have been drugged and had their passports and other personal effects stolen.
SCAMS RISK : N/A
Common cybercrimes reported are requests of money upfront for services or investments. A recurring case of scamming is the one where a traveler befriends an English-speaking local, he/she is taken to a bar for food and drinks and then is expected to pay for everything.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : N/A
Overall, transportation in Istanbul is safe. However, travelers need to keep an eye on their belongings at all times.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : N/A
Istanbul is subject to earthquakes as it is located close to the North Anatolian Fault Zone. However, they do not occur often. The last big earthquake in this city was magnitude 7, and it struck in 1894.
TERRORISM RISK : N/A
Istanbul remains in a heightened state of alert as further terrorist attacks in Turkey are likely – although they never target tourists.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : N/A
There have been reports of sexual assaults against female travelers that are either traveling solo or in small groups. These assaults are usually committed by someone the victim met recently. Female travelers are advised to avoid isolated locations and traveling alone after dark.
WHAT TO DO?
Old City – Sultanahmet & EminönüAs the name says it, this is the oldest part of the city and the location of most of its historical sites like: The Blue Mosque – Also known as Sultanahmet Camii, the Blue Mosque is still a working mosque. Remember to dress modestly as this is a religious site, and bring your own socks because you must take off your shoes to enter. Hagia Sophia – (Sultanahmet Square) was originally a basilica built for the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I in the sixth century. Later, in the 15th century, it became a mosque when the Ottomans conquered the city. Now, Hagia Sophia is a museum that encloses a masterwork of a Roman engineering.
Grand Bazaar – Word has it that this is the oldest shopping mall in the world. This labyrinth with nearly 4400 shops organized by products will keep you busy for most part of your day. As this is popular among tourists, you are likely to pay a little more for your items than elsewhere.Basilica Cistern – or Yerebatan Sarnici, is an underground reservoir built in 532 by Justinian to provide water to the city in case of a blockade. Don’t be surprised by the gigantic fishes swimming below your feet and don’t forget to check out the statues of Medussa. Topaki Palace – For four centuries, this was the imperial territory of the Ottoman emperors. Stroll through the four courts, including the Harem, and get your camera ready for the stunning view from the fourth court. As this is the most popular tourist spot, beware of potential pickpockets.