Public, National and Religious Holidays in Turkey

Fireworks from the Bosphorus bridge during a public holiday in Istanbul.

by Erlend Geerts

in Practical Information

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 2014

Wednesday, 1 January
New Year’s Day (Yılbaşı) – National Holiday – First day of the new year.

Wednesday, 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.

Thursday, 1 May
Labor and Solidarity Day (Emek ve Dayanışma Günü) – National Holiday.

Monday, 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.

Sunday, 27 July
Sugar Feast’s Eve (Ramazan Bayramı Arifesi) – Religious Holiday – ½ day.

Monday, 28 – Wednesday, 30 July
Sugar Feast (Ramazan Bayramı) – Religious Holidays – Three-day festival to celebrate the end of fasting (Ramadan) where plenty of sweets are eaten.

Saturday, 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.

Friday, 3 October
Feast of the Sacrifice’s Eve (Kurban Bayramı Arifesi) – Religious Holiday – ½ day.

Saturday, 4 – Tuesday, 7 October
Feast of the Sacrifice (Kurban Bayramı) – Religious Holidays – Four-day festival where sheep are sacrificed/slaughtered and their meat is distributed to the poor.

Monday, 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.

Monday, 28 October
Republic Day’s Eve (Cumhuriyet Bayramı Arifesi) – National Holiday – ½ day.

Wednesday, 29 October
Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayramı) – National Holiday – Anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

Public & Religious Holidays in 2015

Wednesday, 1 January
New Year’s Day (Yılbaşı) – National Holiday – First day of the new year.

Wednesday, 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.

Thursday, 1 May
Labor and Solidarity Day (Emek ve Dayanışma Günü) – National Holiday.

Monday, 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.

Friday, 17 – Sunday, 19 July
Sugar Feast (Ramazan Bayramı) – Religious Holidays – Three-day festival to celebrate the end of fasting (Ramadan) where plenty of sweets are eaten.

Saturday, 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.

Monday, 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.

Monday, 28 October
Republic Day’s Eve (Cumhuriyet Bayramı Arifesi) – National Holiday – ½ day.

Wednesday, 29 October
Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayramı) – National Holiday – Anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

(Picture Source)

What's Next

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Kat July 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Hello -
I will be in Istanbul October 28th to November 2nd. Due to the holiday the 28th and 29th, I understand museum sites, banks….will be closed or closed half day. I assume 1/2 day means that those locations are open in the morning but close around noon?
Also will restaurants be open on the 28th or 29th?
Thank you! Katrin

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

Hi Kat,

No, just like it says in the article, sightseeing spots that close for half a day should be open again by 13:00.

As for restaurants, they will all be open.

Reply

Julia October 13, 2012 at 4:39 am

Hello,

First of all I’d like to thank you for the great & awfully helpful site.

I’d like to ask if you mean sight seeing spots will be closed on the feast’s eve (24th) or on the first day of the feast (25th) or both.

And what about the ferries, do they work then…

Any suggestions on hoe to spend this half day when everything’s closed?????

Thanks : )

Reply

Erlend Geerts October 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Hi Julia,

The ferries will be working as usual, since people tend to travel a lot during the Bayrams. They may even be more crowded than usual.

And that’s exactly why a nice trip down the Bosphorus or a trip to the Princes’ Islands may be a good way to cope with most sightseeing spots being closed the first morning/day of Bayram.

Have fun,
Erlend

Reply

Zaid October 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I will be in Istanbul from the 26th to the 28th. I would like to know if the Grand Bazaar be open at anytime during this period keeping in view the on going holidays?

Reply

Erlend Geerts October 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Hi Zaid,

I’m afraid it will not, but nothing is for sure. The general rule is that they are closed during religious and official holidays, and on Sundays. This year, the last day of the Feast of the Sacrifice is on Saturday. On Sunday, they are usually closed, and Monday is another official holiday, the Republic Day. It’s hard to predict how this unusual turn of events will play out.

Erlend

Reply

Nano January 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Hello,

First of all I’d like to thank you for the great & helpful site.
I would like to know what are the weekend days in Istanbul?Are they Thursday and Friday? Or Friday and Saturday?
Thanks a lot

Reply

Rebecca April 10, 2013 at 5:25 am

Hello,

Thank you for the helpful site – very much appreciated!

I am travelling to Istanbul on 8-10 August 2013. Does this mean the Grand Bazaar will be closed during my stay?

Thank you again for your help,

Rebecca

Reply

Erlend Geerts April 10, 2013 at 10:53 am

Hi Rebecca,

Thanks for the compliments. Yes, I’m afraid the Grand Bazaar will be closed at that time. You could give it a try on the third day, but I have little hope on that. Sorry.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

lenia April 27, 2013 at 7:30 am

Hello everyone, thank yout for this wonderful site. we arrive to IStanbul on MAy 1st and I am wondering if the aya Sofia museum , basilica cistern and all the other sights in sultanahmet are open.we are sstaying on taksim, so we will be dropped of at sultanahmet and we all go to the hotel later in the afternoon. At what time will the demonstrations will end?should we take a take I or use tram? Thank you in advance.

Reply

Erlend Geerts April 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Hi Lenia,

The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar will be closed. Other sightseeing spots will be open, or open their doors only a bit later.

As for the May 1 gatherings in Taksim, due to the ongoing renovations there, the municipality has prohibited gatherings there this year.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Nikita May 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Hi,

Planning to visit istanbul from 8th- 11th August. we have heard alot about istanbul night life and tourist attractions. As per your info given above they seem to be religious holidays.

just wanted to know if these holidays would affect our visit to tourist attraction places like the blue mosque etc or the night clubs.?

pleese do let me knw.

Thanks & regards
Nikita

Reply

Erlend Geerts May 2, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Hi Nikita,

You’ll indeed be here during the Sugar Feast, following the Ramadan. I think that article will answer most of your questions.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Manisha May 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I just realized that I made the mistake of not checking your website before buying tickets. We will be in Istanbul on August 8th and 9th :-( It is a long trip first to Europe and it appears that changing tickets will not be possible.
I realize Grand bazar and Spice bazar will be closed. Can you advice what should I plan on morning of August 8th? I am with three boys, two are teenage and one is tween.

Also what things mus t be covered from the point of view of my boys as they are interested in history and culture.

Any possibility of them getting some gifts for friends or shops will be closed too?
Thanks.

Reply

Erlend Geerts May 28, 2013 at 7:47 am

Hi Manisha,

Yes, the bazaars will probably be closed that week, but all other (souvenir) shops and sightseeing spots will open their doors in the afternoon of the first day of the Sugar Feast. And if your sons are into history and culture (as you wrote), then I would take them to the classics: Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Süleymaniye Mosque.

So, why not enjoy an elaborated breakfast in Bebek by the Bosphorus that morning?

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Jacquelyn May 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Hi,
Thanks so much for all of the wonderful information. If the Sugar Feast is August 8-10, does that mean that Ramadan is the entire month previous to that? So July 8-August 7? If so, is the Grand Bazaar open during that time? Other attractions? I know it’s polite to not eat outside during that time, but what else should I know? Thanks!

Reply

Erlend Geerts May 29, 2013 at 7:42 am

Hi Jacquelyn,

Yes, in 2013 Ramadan will start July 9th, followed by the Sugar Feast starting August 7. Please follow both links for more detailed info.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Regis June 14, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Hello,

thank you for your very helpfull site with a lot of accurate information.
I intend to spend one week in Istanbul from August 3rd till the following sunday, August 11th. I hope that during this week I will be able to enjoy the special atmosphere of Ramazan and Bayram you describe. But one of your answers surprises me: you say to Manisha that “the Bazaars will probably be closed that week” Does that mean that they are closed really all the week? That would be very annoying for me because I have choosen my dates thinking I will have from monday till wednesday noon to visit the Bazaars. I can’t imagine staying in Istanbul without strolling in the grand Bazaar.
Another (connected) question: will Istanbul be empty during the days of Bayram as it goes in the cities of western Europe on August 15th for example? I hope to see the streets full of people and food sellers as it was in my memories. If not, I will seriously consider changing my reservations.
Thank you for your help
Best regards
Régis

Reply

Erlend Geerts June 17, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Hi Regis,

Let me immediately ease your mind: there is no need to worry.

The Bazaars are closed during the religious holiday, which is the Bayram. The Ramadan is a religious period, but not a holiday. So you’ll have plenty of time to browse the bazaars at the start of your stay in Istanbul.

Also, in Istanbul you never walk alone. And the Bayram will only make it more crowded, because the whole of Turkey will be on the road to visit friends and relatives.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

andres July 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Hey,

Im gettin to Istanbul in August 7th for 2 weeks and im so afraid of everything being closed because of Ramazan.

Can I check somehow somwhere what’s gonna be open? Touristic places especially!
I wanted to show my gf the greatness of Istanbul and now im so scared.

Besides we need to buy some tickets at the offices on the 8th, and I read lots of offices close those days (8-10)

Help please

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 22, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Hi Andres,

Did you check out my article on Istanbul during the Sugar Feast?

I’m not sure I understand your question about tickets: what kind of tickets are they?

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Vijay July 24, 2013 at 8:07 am

We will be in Istanbul from 09Aug to 11Aug forenoon. Will we get a chance to visit Grand Bazar and spice Market at least on Sunday 11Aug . How about other places of Tourist attractions. Will they be open during 09Aug and 10Aug.
Thanks in Advance.

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 26, 2013 at 11:34 am

Hi Vijay,

Did you read this post about the Sugar Feast in Istanbul?

Erlend

Reply

Liz August 8, 2013 at 1:26 am

Hi! On Sunday, Oct 6 (Liberation of Istanbul), do you think Topkapi Palace and the Basilica Cistern be closed? Do you think the Tarlabasi Market would still be happening or would it be closed for the holiday? Thanks!

Reply

Erlend Geerts August 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Hi Liz,

I think the museums will be open, but banks, schools and markets will be closed. Shopping centers will be open too.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Siobhan September 25, 2013 at 7:52 am

Hi there! This site is so wonderful…thank you for helping all of us!

Quite quickly then, as I didn’t see it answered above: will most things be closed october 12-20th? How can I find this out? Ah! Thank you :) xoxo

Reply

Erlend Geerts September 25, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Hi Siobhan,

Most things are most definitely not closed for a week. Have you read this post on the Feast of the Sacriface?

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Sandy January 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Hi there

Thank you for such a helpful article.

Are there any big street parties/ festivities with any of these events? When are the best parties?

Thank you very much,

Sandy

Reply

Erlend Geerts January 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Hi Sandy,

Not really I’m afraid.

You have Iftar in the streets to break the fast during the Ramadan, and the fireworks by the Bosphorus at Republic Day. Other than that no real big street parties.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

ROB February 10, 2014 at 12:45 am

We will be in Istanbul for 4 days from 6 July to 9 July, 2014.
Are there any, festivals or religious events during this time, that would cause closure of the bazaars or tourist attractions. Especially Aya Sofia and Topkapi Palace.
Thank you,
Rob

Reply

Erlend Geerts February 10, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Hi Rob,

As listed in the article, nothing special going on those days, except the normal opening and closing days/hours.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Sophy Kron April 1, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Hello,
I will be in Istanbul on May 19th, which I know is a public holiday. Will the Grand Bazaar and Spice Markey be open on that day?
Thank you!

Reply

Erlend Geerts April 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Hi Sophy,

Yes, they should be open.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Karen Robertson May 3, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Our stay in Istanbul includes May 19th. You have already said that most of the usual sites will be open. Are there special events planned for Youth and Sports Day that a group of Americans might enjoy?

Your site is very helpful. Thanks!

Reply

Erlend Geerts May 6, 2014 at 10:22 am

Hi Karen,

Well, high school students of various schools gather in stadiums and have a parade. I have never been there myself, but I doubt it would be entertaining for tourists.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Faiz June 5, 2014 at 7:15 am

Hi,

I will be visting Istanbul from 29th July till the 31st of July.Are the Bazaar and tourist attraction places open on this festive period week.

Kind Regards
Faiz

Reply

Erlend Geerts June 5, 2014 at 7:25 am

Hi Faiz,

Sightseeing spots will be open except the first morning of the Sugar Feast. The Bazaar will not open until July 31st.

Erlend

Reply

Adriana June 12, 2014 at 6:30 pm

We will be in Istanbul on Friday & Saturday, 29th & 30th August. As Victory Day is on the 29th, will the following places be open or closed: Hippodrome, St Sophia Museum, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cisern, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar. Will we be able to do a Bosphorus cruise at night on the 29th? Thanks!

Reply

Erlend Geerts June 13, 2014 at 9:44 am

Hi Adriana,

Normally the mentioned spots should be open, because the rule of thumb is they close only during religious holidays. Since fireworks are shot from the bridge, cruise on the Bosphorus will be limited.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Leen June 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Thank you for such a helpful article.

We will be in Istanbul for 4 days from 25 July to 28 July, 2014.
Are there any, festivals or religious events during this time, that would cause closure of the bazaars or tourist attractions. Especially Aya Sofia,museam ,grand bazzar and Topkapi Palace
Thank you,

leen

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 1, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Hi Leen,

As you could see in this post, July 28 most sightseeing spots will be closed, certainly in the morning.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Attila July 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Hello!

We will go to Istanbul on 26th of July to 30th of July. I know there will be the Sugar Feast, but can we go to the Grand Bazaar on 26th of July (Saturday)? Or it will be closed? I heared that during the Sugar Feast it is closed.

Thank You very much!
Attila

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 15, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Hi Attila,

As it says in the article, the Grand Bazaar is likely to be closed for the duration of the Bayram. Other sightseeing spots will be open as usual starting from the second day onwards.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Katherine August 4, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Hi thanks so much for this useful list.

We’ll be visiting Istanbul for a week with 2 children during the end of August, and then flying to Cappadocia on either Aug 30 or 31. Would you think it’s worthwhile to stay in Istanbul for Victory Day? We are aware of the military parades in the morning. Are there any other celebrations going on to justify an extra day in Istanbul?

Thanks a lot!
Katherine

Reply

Erlend Geerts August 6, 2014 at 12:00 am

Hi Katherine,

The military parade is mainly in the capital Ankara, but are also some parades in Istanbul.

The biggest advantage of being here around that time is that you’ll get to see beautiful fireworks originating from the Bosphorus bridge :-)

Have fun,
Erlend

Reply

jana August 26, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Hello, I was wondering given that victory day falls on a Saturday this year, will government or administrative buildings/offices etc be closed on Friday instead?

Thank you

Reply

Erlend Geerts August 27, 2014 at 10:55 pm

Hi Jana,

They won’t be closed, but they may close earlier than normal. Let’s say at 13:00 or so.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

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