The almost mythical fortress of Byzantium was renamed Constantinople in 306 AD and designated capital of the Roman Empire. Then conquered by the Ottoman Turks and renamed Istanbul, the city straddles the Bosphorus and has always been an international crossroads, full of tradition and history but nonetheless constantly looking forward, embracing its role as the Asian city closest to Europe and the European city closest to Asia.

The exquisite Ottoman mosques and outdoor markets are still here but there are just as many fashionable boutiques, hot restaurants and stunning contemporary art galleries. And though the locals are not turning their backs on much-loved city institutions such as the rakı-soaked taverns and tranquil tea gardens, there are moments when the hustle and chic could easily be mistaken for Paris. Our trip blends the many cultures and the diverse lifestyles that Istanbul has to offer as well as harking back to a simpler, more rustic way of life with visits to the underground cities and sites of the UNESCO archaeological wonder of Cappadocia.

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