The former capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires has fascinated travellers for centuries with its colourful history and natural charm. Its ancient monuments, Imperial buildings and mosques, with their towering minarets, dominate the skyline. The once named city of Constantinople straddles the Bosphorous, the only city in the world that spans two continents, between the Black Sea, to the north, and the Sea of Marmara, to the south.
The heart of the old city is Sultanahmet. From here you can marvel at the Orthodox Basilica of Hagia Sophia built by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 537. You can gaze at the beautiful tiles that adorn the interior of the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet, known as the "Blue Mosque, or walk into the world of the Ottoman Sultans in The Imperial Topkapı Palace and its mystical Harem. In the 4000 shops of the Grand Bazaar you can haggle for souvenirs or antiques whilst in the Spice Market you can inhale the pungent and heady aromas of cinnamon and saffron . End the day with a relaxing sunset cruise on the Bosphorus. To the northwest is the one time Ottoman capital of Edirne with its lively bazaar and the 16th-century Selimiye Camii whose four minarets are said to be the highest in the world. Travel south to ancient Bursa, Yesil Bursa, with its spas, forests of Mount Ulu and its magnificent Ulu Camii.