On behalf of all the EvoStar organisers for 2010, we are very pleased to be holding this year's events in Istanbul. Our local organiser Sima Etaner Uyar and her team are currently busy setting out arrangements and some exciting social trips for EvoStar and I thought it might be useful to set out some suggestions while planning your visit to Turkey this spring.
With Istanbul being European City of Culture in 2010, the town will be busy and accommodation in April will get booked early. Once you have registered for EvoStar, the best thing is to organise your travel and accommodation as quickly as you can before prices rise and places are filled. We are proposing several hotels at the accommodation pages, with the Bilek Hotel, the Niza Park Hotel and the Villa Blanche Hotel being our recommended ones for ease of transport to the venue.
Istanbul is a crowded but interesting city with a population of around 13 million and its people are very friendly and hospitable. The conference takes place at the modern campus of Istanbul Technical University which is set in the northeastern sector of the city. You should be aware that this is some distance from the historical areas of Istanbul, the Sultanahmet district on the southern shore of the Golden Horn. If you are coming early to Istanbul, or staying on after the conference, we suggest that you consider staying in the Sultanahmet area as you will probably enjoy the city better. But we also suggest that you do NOT stay in the historic area during the conference days unless you want to spend some serious travel time getting to and from the venue.
The accommodation pages lists some hotels relatively near the conference venue and we have tried to incorporate as many social trips into the programme as time allows, so that you can enjoy Istanbul without spending too much time travelling to the venue. You will want to choose a hotel near the metro line to be able to travel to the Ayazağa metro station for the conference venue at ITU. (See local travel pages for more information.)
In addition to presenting 190 papers and with invited speakers Kevin Warwick, Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Guenther Raidl and Jens Gottlieb this year, EvoStar also includes a boat trip up the Bosphorus, the conference dinner at the famous Galata Tower, as well as a series of optional social trips on Friday afternoon. So you might want to consider coming early or staying on an extra day or so.
There are two airports in Istanbul and details are available at the local travel pages. Ataturk is the main airport and from there you can travel relatively easily to your hotel or ITU. The second airport called Sabiha Gökçen is located on the Asian side and it takes about an hour by taxi or public transport. Arrival by train or ferry from Italy/Greece are other options for those with more time to spare, or who are more adventurous, check some suggestions at http://www.seat61.com/Turkey2.htm. We shall post more travel information and maps very soon.
Please spend some time checking our local pages to get a better idea of what to expect and we certainly recommend reserving your travel and accommodation as early as possible, and then think about ways in which to enjoy your stay while in Istanbul.
Over the coming month, abstracts of all accepted papers and the conference programme will be posted at the website together with more information about social trips and travel suggestions.
Please look through our web pages and let us know if any information you need is missing and we shall endeavour to improve things as soon as we can.
On behalf of all the organisers, we look forward to meeting our EvoStar colleagues in April in Istanbul.