General information


The 15th ESCRS Winter Meeting will be held in conjunction with the Turkish Ophthalmological Society,
Cataract & Refractive Surgery Division and will take place at:
Hilton Istanbul
Cumhuriyet Caddesi,
Turkey 34367


European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons
Temple House, Temple Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin, Ireland
Tel: + 353 1 209 1100
Fax: + 353 1 209 1112


Delegates are advised to take out travel insurance to cover medical expenses, accidents, loss, etc.
No responsibility will be accepted by the Organisers.

Official Language

The official language of the Meeting is English.

Passports and Visas

Every visitor to Turkey must have a valid passport and a visa, if required. Participants are advised to contact the nearest Republic of Turkey Embassy or Consulate, or your travel agency to determine whether a visa is necessary to enter Turkey.


Turkish Airlines, Turkey’ s flag-carrier, flies to nearly 80 destinations worldwide and offers direct connections to leading cities not just in Europe but also in North America and the Far East.
50 international airlines are flying to and from Istanbul. 

Distance from the airport to the city centre is 20 km.

Shuttle buses, metro and taxis to the city centre are available from the airport. The taxi fare for the city center is approximately 20-25 EUR.

Public Transport in Istanbul

 Public transportation in Istanbul comprises buses, minibuses, share taxis in the outer districts mainly under the control of İETT, various rail transportation systems, and boats and modern sea buses. The city has two international airports: Ataturk Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport.

There are two motorways extending from the east of the city to the west. The Motorway on the south of the city provides transportation to the Bosphorus Strait and the Trans European Motorway (TEM) provides transportation to Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and the opposite shore.

Currency & Credit Cards

Turkish currency is the Turkish Lira, TL. Please click on the Personal Currency Assistant which enables you to make currency conversions on actual rates. You will have a bank office in the Conference Center at your service. TL is freely sold and bought in hotels, banks and special exchange offices called "döviz bürosu".

Major credit cards including American Express, Diners, MasterCard, and Visa are accepted in large hotels, car rental companies and major stores. You will need cash (TL) to pay for taxi fares, some may accept credit card.

About Istanbul 

Istanbul, which has served as the capital city of various empires in its history, is the most crowded city of Turkey and Europe.

With its population of around 13 million, Istanbul is the third most crowded city in the world following Bombay and Mexico. Mexico holds the 34th rank in the world with its annual production of 133 billion dollar. It is the cultural and financial center of Turkey. It extends along the coast of the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus Strait in the northwest of Turkey and encompasses the Golden Horn. The European side of Istanbul is called Thrace and the Asian side is called Anatolia. Istanbul is the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. The city has 39 districts together with the new districts and 40 municipalities in total including the metropolitan municipality.

Being one of the oldest cities of the world, Istanbul was the capital city of Roman Empire between 330 and 395, East Roman Empire between 395-1204 and 1261-1453, Latin Empire between 1204 and 1261 and finally Ottoman Empire between 1454 and 1922.

Important Monuments


Construction of the walls surrounding the city began in the 7th century and they were repaired four times and took their current shape after 408 A.D. During the reign of Theodosius II (408-450), walls extended from Sarayburnu along the Golden Horn to Ayvansaray, from Ayvansaray along the coast of the Sea of Marmara to Yedikule, from Yedikule to Topkapı and from Topkapı to Ayvansaray.

The walls are 22 km long. Walls of the Golden Horn are 5.5 km long and land walls are 6.5 km long. Walls of Marmara are 9 km long. Land walls consist of three parts: ditch, outer wall and inner wall. Today ditches are used for agriculture. 96 towers are placed along the land walls at intervals of 50 meters. The towers, mainly square, are 25 meters tall and placed 10 meters away from the walls.


Dolmabahçe Palace:
The palace is located on the opposite side of Üsküdar at a point between Kabataş and Beşiktaş along the coastline from Karaköy to Sarıyer and on the coastline to the left while travelling from the Sea of Marmara to the Bosphorus Strait by sea. The Palace was named Dolmabahçe since it was placed on a filled site. The construction of the Palace was financed by external funds.

The palace designed by Sarkis Balyan by order of Sultan Abdülaziz was built between 1861 and 1865 on a site of an old palace.

Topkapı Palace
The palace is the oldest and the largest palace in Istanbul and in the world that survived to this day. It is located on the acropolis known as the first establishment site of Istanbul which overlooks the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus Strait and the Sea of Marmara. It is a complex located on a site of 700,000 square metres at the tip of Istanbul peninsula surrounded by walls of 5 km.

Yıldız Palace:
The Palace which is located in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul was constructed for Mihrişah Sultan, mother of Sultan Selim III (1789-1807) and used by Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II as the seat of Ottoman government. Unlike Dolmabahçe Palace which is a single building, Yıldız Palace consists of a garden extending from the coast of the Sea of Marmara to the northwest of the site and covering the entire hillside and of palaces, mansions, state apartments, security and service buildings and parks located inside the woodland.

Çırağan Palace:
It is a historical palace located on Çırağan Street of the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul. The most beautiful sites of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait were allocated to sultans and important persons for their palaces and mansions. Most of those buildings vanished in time. Çırağan Palace which is a big palace burnt out in 1910. It was built by order of Sultan Abdülaziz in 1871 on a site of an old wooden palace and designed by palace architect Serkis Balyan. The palace was built in four years at a cost of four million gold. The inner walls and the roof were made of wood and the outer walls were made of marble. The construction of the palace was financed by borrowing from European countries.

The columns of the Palace which are the most beautiful examples of stone work were completed by richly decorated places. Rooms were decorated with precious carpets and furniture gilded and engraved with mother-of-pearl. Çırağan Palace hosted lots of important meetings as the other palaces located on the Bosphorus. The façades of the Palace were decorated with colorful marble and monumental doors. It was connected with a bridge to Yıldız Palace. It was surrounded by high walls on the street side. The ruined palace was restored after a very long time and converted into a five star hotel. It has a decorative pool, a pier and a helipad in its garden. Today it hosts many social activities.


Taksim Square
Taksim district and square took this name from the stone reservoir from which water was distributed to Galata and Beyoğlu. Taksim which used to be a narrow district lined with old houses took its current shape after being extended as a square. The Republic Monument located in the middle of the square and its surroundings are used for ceremonial occasions and serve as a meeting place. A nostalgic tram runs from the square to the Tünel.

The symbol of Taksim Square, the Republic Monument, was created by the Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica and built in 1928. It was built in two and a half years and made of stone and bronze. It was built with financial support from the public. The Republic Monument is the first monument of the Republic Period that symbolizes Ataturk and the new order in a figurative manner. Taksim became an important site for various occasions with the placement of the monument in the square.

Sultanahmet Square
Sultanahmet Square is one of the most important squares of Istanbul. It was used as a hippodrome during the Byzantine period. The word hippodrome means horse path which comes from the Greek words hippos and dromos. It was called Horse Square during the Ottoman period.

Important structures and monuments from the Byzantine period, few of which survived to this day, were built around the hippodrome. Empire palace which was known as the “Great Palace” extended from the hippodrome to the coastline. The mosaic floor of the big hall survived from the Great Palace to this day. The most important square of the city was Agusteion and a triumphal arch was placed between the square and the street. The street was the beginning of the road ending in Rome and the first milestone was located in there.

During the Ottoman Empire, janissary revolts took place in the hippodrome and the hippodrome was used for forty days long circumcision ceremonies and festivals. The 1920 Sultanahmet demonstration during which Halide Edip made a speech against occupation took place in the hippodrome.

The German Fountain which was constructed to commemorate the anniversary of Emperor Wilhelm’s visit to Istanbul is located in the middle of the square. Istanbul Palace of Justice is located on the west side of the square. Today the square is the most important tourist hub of Istanbul.


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