In ancient times, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Venetians and Ottomans called Turkey its home, making it a remarkable melting pot of culture, tradition and cuisine. Its Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Central Asian influences bring about a history that remains etched in its landscape, as ancient Hittite ruins share the scenery with crumbling Roman theatres, and crusade-old churches contrast with mosques. At the centre of it all is the ancient city of Constantinople, known now as Istanbul. The busy streets of this modern-day metropolis are still immensely rich in heritage, with the majestic Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia capturing the sights in this city that bridges Europe and Asia. Rivalling the country’s fascinating history is its stunning natural beauty. Sunny beaches bathed by crystal clear water blend with the mountains in the distance, as the vast unspoilt territories of the hinterland stretch into the blue horizon, colourfully dotted by the hot-air balloons of Cappadocia.