Two great empires, the Ottoman and the Byzantine, are at the heart of Turkey’s rich inheritance. Its amazing confluence of cultures offers visitors the very best of all worlds in terms of history, cultural heritage and thriving towns and cities. Turkish Airlines serves nearly 250 world-wide destinations non-stop from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and flights are good value, so Istanbul makes for a great stop over.
Bestriding the divide where East meets West, Istanbul is an extravaganza of splendid mosques and opulent palaces, historical and contemporary museums, a bustling port, bazaars, invigorating hamams and fabulous food. Further afield remarkable experiences await, such as Cappadocia’s underground cities, the moving history of Gallipoli, the ancient marvels at Ephesus and Troy
and the geological phenomena of Pamukkale and Goreme.
Fiona’s travel tipsTOP TIP: The dark and extraordinary Basilica Cistern is a marvellously cooling and calming experience, particularly at the hottest time of the day. Beware the slippery floor and steps – I suggest sensible footwear!
DID YOU KNOW: Begun in 532 AD, it took 10,000 people nearly six years to build Hagia Sophia cathedral. It has also been a mosque and is now a museum.
BEST TIME TO GO: Mid March to mid November.
“Our guide demonstrated a fund of knowledge about the history and customs of the areas we visited. One member of our party remarked that he thought him the best guide he had ever come across, I would not disagree.”
Sir Harold and Lady Walker, Eastern Turkey