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Istanbul Tourism Hub

Flood hits Istanbul tourist hub

Hazel Heyer, eTN Staff Writer  Sep 14, 2009

The Turkish government is assuring international visitors that Istanbul’s major tourism and business districts – including the “Old Istanbul” neighborhood known as Sultanahmet, where the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Hippodrome are located, and Taksim, the city’s bustling business center – are both safe. The reported flooding has occurred in more outlying areas of Istanbul.

“We want to assure international visitors to Istanbul that the vast majority of the city – particularly those most frequented by foreign visitors – are safe and relatively unaffected by the flood conditions in Istanbul,” said Hasan Zongur, director of the Turkish Culture and Tourist Office in New York City. “Though there is certainly some flooding in these areas, they are more inconveniences than cause for concern.”

Major services such as electricity and water have had very limited interruptions. No significant public disturbances were reported as a result of the flooding.

Istanbul Ataturk International Airport remains open despite reported weather-related delays and cancellations, though the latter were few. Those traveling to the airport from Istanbul’s city center are advised to check the status of their flights before departing for the airport and allow significant extra time to get to the airport, as the area worst hit by the flooding lies between the city’s center and the airport.

Though weather conditions in the Istanbul area are not expected to improve for three days, it is not anticipated that any areas frequented by international travelers will be significantly impacted by any continued flood conditions.

Flood hits Istanbul tourist hub
Ibrahim Usta/Associated Press

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