(Note: professional guides provide their services for a fee. Although they welcome inquiries about scheduling and availability of their services, they expect to be paid when they provide tourism information. You may be asked to arrange payment before questions are answered. Also, if you reserve a guide’s time in advance, you may be asked to arrange credit card payment at the time of reservation, just as for a hotel room, rental car, or flight. Please note that guides are not travel agents, and are not licensed to make reservations or other travel agency services.—Tom Brosnahan)
“Hello! I’m Mahir Birecikligil. I am from the southeastern city of Gaziantep, the 6th-biggest city in Turkey, famous for its baklava and pistachios.
“I have been a professional licensed tourist guide since 1995. I have worked in Marmaris for five years, and in Istanbul for 10 years. I have considerable experience guiding visitors around Turkey, especially in Istanbul.
“I lived in London for five years, and studied mathematics and computing in Southwark College in Blackfriars.
“To date, I have guided mostly visitors from the USA, but inevitably, being an English- and Russian-speaking tour guide, I have also hosted guests from all over the world, many of them diplomats and celebrities.
“Apart from the tours in Turkey, I also guide Turkish travelers in foreign countries. As a result, I believe I have a proper appreciation of what visitors want.
“I specialise in guiding visitors in Istanbul, the Marmara region, western, central and southern parts of Turkey. I mostly guide guests staying in the major five-star hotels including the Four Seasons, the Ritz-Carlton, theIntercontinental, Conrad, Hilton, Hyatt Regency and Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul.
“Of course, I also guide groups both large and small from other hotels in Istanbul and Turkey.
“My aim is for my clients to enjoy their time in Turkey, so I help them to appreciate the Turkish approach to life and to grasp details of our rich past. I like to do this in an enjoyable way. After all, visitors are supposed to be on vacation, not taking history or architecture classes! I believe I have a good sense of humour, and that helps me to make a tour enjoyable.
I particularly enjoy planning cultural, architectural, shopping and off-the-beaten-track tours for visitors to Istanbul.