It’s always a good idea to check out Turkey’s and Istanbul’s official, public, national, regional and religious holidays before planning a trip or a sightseeing excursion. To make it easier for you I created this nice overview. Please pay special attention to the religious holidays since they change yearly.
Most popular tourist atrractions and shops open their doors during national holidays, but are closed until 13:00 on the first day of religious holidays. Both the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar are closed for the full duration of religious holidays, and also on October 29th. Banks are closed during all holidays — national and religious.
Avoid road trips during both religious holidays, especially the Feast of the Sacrifice, because traffic intensifies dramatically. This is because during these holidays Turks visit their relatives all over the country. Also please note that May 1 demonstartions in and around Taksim often end quite agitated. Don’t take unnecessary risks, and avoid crowded areas such as Taksim, Nişantaşı, Beşiktaş and Kadıköy on May 1st.
Public & Religious Holidays in 2015
Thursday, 1 January
New Year’s Day (Yılbaşı) – National Holiday – First day of the new year.
Thursday, 23 April
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (Ulusal Eğemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı) – National Holiday – Commemoration of the first opening of gthe Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara (1920). Dedicated to the children.
Friday, 1 May
Labor and Solidarity Day (Emek ve Dayanışma Günü) – National Holiday.
Tuesday, 19 May
Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth & Sports Day (Atatürk’ü Anma Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı) – National Holiday – The arrival of Atatürk in Samsun in 1919, the beginning of the War of Independence. Dedicated to the youth.
Thursday, 16 July
Sugar Feast’s Eve (Ramazan Bayramı Arifesi) – Religious Holiday – ½ day.
Sunday, 30 August
Victory Day (Zafer Bayramı) – National Holiday – Victory over the allied forces during the final battle in Dumlupınar in 1922, ending the War of Independence. Dedicated to the armed forces.
Tuesday, 22 September
Feast of the Sacrifice’s Eve (Kurban Bayramı Arifesi) – Religious Holiday – ½ day.
Wednesday, 23 – Saturday, 26 September
Feast of the Sacrifice (Kurban Bayramı) – Religious Holidays – Four-day festival where sheep are sacrificed/slaughtered and their meat is distributed to the poor.
Tuesday, 6 October
Liberation of Istanbul (İstanbul’un Kurtuluşu) – Regional Holiday – Anniversary of the liberation of Istanbul by Turkish armed forces during the War of Independence.
Wednesday, 28 October
Republic Day’s Eve (Cumhuriyet Bayramı Arifesi) – National Holiday – ½ day.
Thursday, 29 October
Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayramı) – National Holiday – Anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.