Guidebooks to Istanbul (UK editions)

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Bill_Miyorum
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Guidebooks to Istanbul (UK editions)

Post by Bill_Miyorum » Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:15 pm

I've just bought the first (2009) edition of the "Rough Guide" to Istanbul, and I have to say that I don't think there's a lot to choose between it, the "Lonely Planet" guide and the "Time Out" guide (my copies of the last two are older editions). You're probably best off with the "Time Out" guide if you're more interested in the hip than the historic. One of the big questions with these guides is, "Are the hotel and restaurant listings any good?", but the answer has to be, "How can we tell?" Still, there is something wrong when a guidebook (the "Rough Guide" in this case) refers to the Bosphorus as a "river", even if it does intermittently get it right by calling it a "strait". And there is something odd going on when "Lonely Planet" and "Rough Guide" make the same mistake when discussing Fenerbahçe Football Club's stadium. According to both, its official name is the "Rüştü Saraçoğlu Stadium". Well, sorry, it's really called the Şükrü Saraçoğlu Stadium. Şükrü Saraçoğlu was chairman of Fenerbahçe and held high office as prime minister of Turkey. Rüştü is a former Fenerbahçe goalkeeper who now plies his trade at Beşiktaş (Kartal gol gol gol!) :lol: Many will remember him for the face paint he used to desport while on duty for the Turkish national team.

Another shortcoming of the "Rough Guide" (2009) is the fact that it refers to the previous site of Kadıköy's big Tuesday Market. When I visited the area in May, 2009, the market had already moved to a new site, about a mile away.

Unlike many Istanbul guidebooks, the "Rough Guide" includes a chapter on Bursa. I don't doubt that most of the information about that city is very useful. What were the proofreaders doing, though, when they reached this, on page 267: "It was the first capital of the mighty Ottoman Empire and contains some of the finest early Ottoman monuments in the Balkans"? Bursa in the Balkans? :roll: At least the mistake is of no practical consequence for the traveller!

A problem with the street maps in many Istanbul guidebooks is that they place at least some of the stops of the Zeytinburnu-to-Kabataş tram at the wrong point (a case of writers working with provisional plans that were later modified, perhaps?)

When a new car is launched the first buyers often find themselves doing the final stages of the development and testing; when a new computer operating system comes out, the word from software professionals is often "Too many bugs. Avoid for the time being." When a new guidebook is published, a certain wariness is in order, it would seem, though I should say that I don't regret buying the "Rough Guide". For one thing, it seems to be on the ball about new restaurants in the Aksaray-Şehzadebaşı area of Istanbul, a district which, although home to many hotels, has tended to suffer from a lack of good places to eat out, as I know from personal experience.

One other thing in favour of the "Rough Guide" is the fact that it gives a big thumbs-up to the Turkey Travel Planner website. 8)
Last edited by Bill_Miyorum on Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.


turkeytom
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Re: Guidebooks to Istanbul (UK editions)

Post by turkeytom » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:40 pm

Bill,

The "Bursa in the Balkans" sounds to me like either an editor-introduced error, or the error of a tyro writer assigned to do the westernmost part of Turkey and perhaps parts of the Balkans for other guides.

The trend in guidebook publishing these days is to support the company's bottom line by employing smart, young, eager, talented but inexperienced writers and editors who sign up because of the thrill of adventure and "prestige" of the job. When they find they can't make a living at it, they move on to other things.

In any case, these errors are fairly trivial, and I'd bet that all three guides you mention offer very good value for money in terms of utility on the road.

Tom Brosnahan

Bill_Miyorum
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Re: Guidebooks to Istanbul (UK editions)

Post by Bill_Miyorum » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:50 pm

Tom,

Evidently the author of the 'Rough Guide' to Istanbul is based in Antalya and "has been an author of the 'Rough Guide' to Turkey for over a decade", so when it comes to "Bursa in the Balkans" my money is on an editor-induced error.

I realise that these guides are subject to the same commercial pressures as everything else; I am sure that they are a mine of useful information for all that.

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Re: Guidebooks to Istanbul (UK editions)

Post by turkeytom » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:58 pm

Rough Guides website lists the authors of the current Turkey guide as "Marc Dubin, Terry Richardson, Rosie Ayliffe, John Gawthrop." They have indeed been working on RG Turkey for quite awhile (some longer than 10 years), and are both experienced authors and experts on Turkey, so I doubt they thought Bursa was in the Balkans.

Tom Brosnahan


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