Istanbul is a city in Turkey that straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. The Old City reflects cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here. In the Sultanahmet district, the open-air, Roman-era Hippodrome was for centuries the site of chariot races, and Egyptian obelisks remain. The iconic Byzantine Hagia Sophia features a soaring dome and Christian mosaics.
Cappadocia, a semi-arid region in central Turkey, is full of otherworldly natural sites, most notably the “fairy chimneys,” tall, cone-shaped rock formations clustered in Monks Valley and elsewhere. Popular for exploration are Bronze Age homes carved into valley walls by troglodytes (cave dwellers) and later used as refuges by early Christians. The 100m-deep Ihlara Canyon houses numerous rock-face churches.