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Going To Turkey In May!

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Hi eveyone, my name is Mike and im a lebanese american planning to go to Turkey for the first time. I'm going there to see all that istanbul has to offer but mainly to see the blue mosque. This is actually one of many trips I will be taking to fullfill my goal of praying in a mosque in every country that I can. I'm trying to research the "must visit" spots in turkey and I think this site is a good place to start. I have a couple questions that I hope can be answeard before I ask more and more and more questions lol.1. I know english and broken arabic, is it a major problem not knowing turkish?2. I plan on offering Shia prayers in the mosque, would that cause a problem with the majority sunni people in the mosque?3. I have narrowed it down to two hotels. Which one should I stay at, the hotel barin or the Crown plaza(both in istanbul)?4. How much spending money should I take for a 3 night trip?

Thanks in advance.

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Hi Mike,When my husband and I visited Istanbul we too visited the Blue Mosque as it gave him great pleasure to pray in such an impressive place , i have dscussed the question you had about wanting to pray shia when the majoirty are sunni and he states shia and sunni are not too different and muslim is muslim and he can see no problems that you will come across. We too have scoured the net for hotels and there are just too many to choose from and it would be difficult to recommend but there are others on here who have pointed me in the right direction, if you trawl trough the istanbul posts on here you will find a couple of hotels that members have stayed at and rated as worth staying at.

Money well it depends on what acocmodation you take, whether your hotel includes meals etc but i found that the city was comparitively cheap to travel and get into attractions but i am comparing them on uk prices which are expensive.

I do hope you find satisfaction when you visit and i am sure you will thoroughly enjoy your visit there,I cant wait to go back

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I do hope you enjoy Istanbul. It's my favorite city when it comes to history. I can't say that you will have a difficult time as far as communication. Many of the tourist areas always have a few people around that understand English. One more hotel that I recommend is the Sultan Ahmet Palace Hotel located directly behind the Blue Mosque. I've stayed there and I love the location when it comes to quiet early morning walks around the street behind the Hagia Sophia. www.sultanahmetpalace.comEnjoy your stay.

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Hi LebAmerican, from a fellow American! Welcome to the forum, and thanks for joining! :D I'll try to answer as best I can:

1. I know english and broken arabic, is it a major problem not knowing turkish?

No, it won't be a problem. You'll encounter LOTS of people in Istanbul who speak English.

2. I plan on offering Shia prayers in the mosque, would that cause a problem with the majority sunni people in the mosque?

I'm sure it would not be a problem. As far as I can remember, living here ten years, there has never been a conflict between Shia and Sunni muslims. I wouldn't give it a second thought. Istanbul Turks (and Turks in general) are very open-minded about people of all religions, so they don't have the religious friction that many other countries have. Istanbul also prides itself on being a place where people of all religions have lived together peacefully for hundreds and hundreds of years. You won't have any problems.

3. I have narrowed it down to two hotels. Which one should I stay at, the hotel barin or the Crown plaza(both in istanbul)?

I don't think you can go wrong with the Crowne Plaza, that's the only one I know. I've only stayed there once, but my company was paying for it! Otherwise I couldn't even afford it, but I found it to be a very nice hotel. I don't know anything about the Hotel Barin, though.

4. How much spending money should I take for a 3 night trip?

Well that's a tough question to answer, since it depends on where you want to eat and what you want to do! You can do Istanbul cheaply for three days with 100YTL, I imagine I'd probably spend about 150 YTL on food and various stuff in three days. Take a bit extra just in case.

If you're interested in another place of interest to Muslims, do some research on Bursa, which is not far from Istanbul. I don't know a lot about it, since a lot of the websites I've reviewed on Bursa are in Turkish. Bursa has a mosque there called the "Green Mosque" or "Yesil Cami." I don't recall the significance in Muslim history, but it's very significant. When I went to Bursa, I saw Muslims from all over the world there. I asked my Turkish friend why all of them were there, and he told me that they were on a pilgrimage to the Green Mosque. Regarding other sites to visit in Turkey, Cappadocia would be a must. Perhaps Pamukkale and Ephesus as well. Ankara has the Museum of Ancient Civilizations and the Anitkabir, Ataturk's tomb, but not a lot else in terms of tourist attractions. Troy and Pergamum might also be worth a visit, depending on what you're interested in, but none of these other sites are of any particular Muslim interest... Cappadocia, however, would appeal to anybody, it is an extremely unusual place, you might think you are on another planet. People thousands of years ago lived in caves there and also underground, and it has some spectacular scenery and interesting places to visit. It's a lot farther from Istanbul than Bursa is.

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Wow, thanks for all the great advice. I have never heard of the green mosque but running a quick search I have to put this on the checklist of placeses to go. Istanbul has so much history and so much places of interest that I hope I can make time to see all the sites. I was planning to go alone and thats why I would have gone with the barin hotel(51 USD per night) but a friend wants to go with me so I think I will stay at the crown plaza for 125 USD a night. I'm not going to istanbul for the nightlife or the bars but would like to find places that attract more of the younger crowed. Any ideas?

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