Although, like Turkey itself, the city that straddles two continents is best appreciated by combining the old and new, and few can resist the ancient charms of attractions such as the Hagia Sophia or Basilica Cistern — the largest of Istanbul’s ancient reservoirs, adorned with marble pillars.
Leave the city and head deeper into Turkey and you’ll be immediately struck by the wealth of natural wonders, such as the otherworldly Pamukkale in Denizli Province — terraced pools of turquoise water, formed by hot springs.
From the verdant landscapes of the mountainous steppes in the north west, to views over the stunning bays along the southwest coast, the portraits gathered together here give a taste of the real Turkey and all its many faces.
Collecting tea, Rize
On the mountainous steppes of northeast Turkey, only the colourful skirts and headscarves of tea pickers punctuate the verdant green of the hillsides. There are three tea harvests each year; visit the Rize Province to learn about the traditional drying process, and share a tulip-shaped glass of delicious dark, sweet tea with local workers. (Image: AWL Images)
Modern Art Museum, Istanbul
Stoic statues guard what’s thought to be the tomb of King Antiochus at the 7,000ft-high Mount Nemrud. The UNESCO World Heritage Site dates to the first century BC. Heads of lions, eagles and gods are scattered at the feet of their statues. (Image: National Geographic Creative)
Ortaköy Mosque, Istanbul
The silhouette of the baroque Ortaköy Mosque is cast onto the ripples of the Bosphorus Strait. In the background, the mighty Bosphorus Bridge arches across the water, linking together the two continents that Istanbul so famously straddles. (Image: Shutterstock)
Above the glistening waters and dramatic outline of the Turquoise Coast, paragliders enjoy a view of the small resort of Ölüdeniz. The scenery makes it one of the world’s prime paragliding spots, with Mount Babadag regarded as one of Europe’s best launch sites. (Image: Getty)
This coastal province boasts blissful beaches, the deep-blue Aegean Sea and reliable breezes, which make it a winner with windsurfers. As well as being home to the country’s third-largest city, which gives its name to the province, you’ll find Alacati — Turkey’s answer to St Tropez. (Image: Getty)
This otherworldly natural wonder in Denizli Province owes its existence to the area’s 17 hot springs. Water from these springs flows downhill, leaving behind gel-like calcium carbonate deposits that harden into surreal-looking white terraces, filled with turquoise water. (Image: National Geographic Creative)
Sultanahmet District, Istanbul
Across the waters of the Golden Horn, city lights, soaring minarets and cupolas pierce the Istanbul skyline. Although Hagia Sophia is one of the most well-known, there are more than 3,000 mosques scattered throughout the city. (Image: National Geographic Creative)
Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici), Istanbul
Dating back to the sixth century, the Basilica Cistern is the largest of Istanbul’s ancient reservoirs. The underground complex, built beneath a former basilica to hold rainwater, is propped up by a forest of over 300 marble pillars. (Image: 4Corners images)
Boats at sunset, Yumurtalik Lagoon
The still waters of Yumurtalik Lagoon are cloaked in golden light as a lone boatman retires his craft for the day. Located in the southern province of Adana, the wetlands form a nature reserve, spread out across river deltas that empty into the Mediterranean.
Interior of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Dating back to the sixth century, the Hagia Sophia is one of Istanbul’s most prized architectural treasures. It showcases the city’s religious heritage — having previously been both a church and a mosque, it’s now a museum. (Image: National Geographic Creative)
Parkour by the Blue Mosque, Istanbul
A local shows off his skills at parkour — a fast-paced discipline involving running, jumping and rolling across challenging urban environments — to the backdrop of the city’s Blue Mosque. (Image: Getty)
Sailing by Rumelian Castle, Istanbul
This stunning fortress was built in just five months in 1452 by Ottoman sultan Mehmet II in preparation for the conquest of Constantinople. Those who venture to the top enjoy views of Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait. (Image: Getty)
Lycian Rock Tombs, Fethiye
Carved into the mountainside in Fethiye in Muğla Province by the ancient Lycians, it’s said that these spectral ruins are the tombs from which the departed were spirited to the afterlife by mythical winged creatures.
Renowned for its otherworldly landscape, the rocks and rooftops of Cappadocia are cloaked in a blanket of white snow as the skies begin to fill with colourful balloons. This historic region in central Turkey has become a world-famous place to enjoy dramatic views from the basket of a hot air balloon. (Image: Getty)
Whirling dervishes, Galata Mevlevi House, Istanbul
Whirling dervishes perform at Galata Mevlevi House, built in 1491 as a Sufi temple. The dance signifies emotion and love of God. (Image: AWL Images)
The 15th-century castle, located in the southwest port city of Bodrum, was built by the Knights of Rhodes during the Crusades. Today, it offers visitors majestic views over the Mediterranean. (Image: National Geographic Creative)
The images in this story formed part of photography exhibition at World Travel Market 2017, London, and produced in collaboration with the Turkish Culture and Information Office