About Istanbul

 

About İstanbul Originally named Byzantium and later Constantinople, Istanbul is the only city in the world to span two continents. It sits on the Bosphorus, the strait of water that divides the continents of Europe and Asia and encompasses the natural harbour of the Golden Horn. Its illustrious past leaves a rich legacy of churches, mosques, palaces and museums, complemented by the behemoth Grand Bazaar with over 6,000 shops, the aromatic Egyptian Spice Market and colourful street life.

Sultanahmet, the compact old city of Istanbul, is full of parks, gardens and stunning sights. The Blue Mosque is famed for its blue Iznik tiles and unique six minarets. The Hagia Sofia, constructed in the 6th century, reigned as the grandest and biggest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, when it became a mosque. Just around the corner is Topkapi Palace, a fascinating insight into the sultans that once ruled Turkey, from the opulent pavilions to the incredible jewels housed in the Treasury.

Istanbul was a capital city for many empires from the Romans to the Byzantines and and Ottomans. It may not be a capital today but it is still a thriving, eclectic city with a fascinating mix of architectural styles including Islamic, Baroque, Rococo and Art Nouveau, as well as famed nightlife and excellent cuisine options. Art galleries and museums are doted throughout the city and it hosts film festivals, as well as many major art, music and cultural events. Istanbul also hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Air Race World Series, making it a world-class destination with plenty of attractions throughout the year.

About İstanbul

About Cappadocia

About Cappadocia The mysterious rock formations and underground cities of Cappadocia are perhaps the jewel in Turkey’s crown. Whole troglodyte villages, subterranean churches and fortresses have been hewn from the soft porous rock, creating a complex system of apartments, public rooms and underground interconnecting streets that once easily housed hundreds of people. The underground cities were largely used as hiding places by Hittites and early Christians and even today some are still inhabited.

The UNESCO Listed Goreme is probably the biggest attraction in Cappadocia with over 30 Byzantine rock churches covered with magnificent frescoes and open to the public. The remains of human habitats have been discovered here that date back as early as the 4th century. At the open-air museum of Zelve the remains of a monastery complex and the famous phallic-like rock formations nicknamed ‘fairy chimneys’ are the main draw. A little further out the subterranean villages of Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı are a warren of ancient houses and a highlight for many visitors.

As well as being a place of unique beauty, Cappadocia is also an excellent region for purchasing handmade carpets and the volcanic topography lends itself perfectly to adventurous activities such as mountain biking and hiking with a number of trail markers directing you on popular routes. A hot air balloon ride over this magical landscape at sunrise is highly recommended for incredible bird’s eye views across the valley.

About Cappadocia