Istanbul: The Crossroads of East and West

This ancient city on the famous Silk Road was a center for trade and commerce and has been at the crossroads of East and West for two millennia. From the start, different cultures and people traded, worked and lived together creating one of the world’s great cosmopolitan cities. Today, Istanbul is a feast for the mind, eye, and palate: beautiful mosques, art, culture, history, and sensational food is found around every corner. This, combined with the warm hospitality and joie de vivre of the locals, make Istanbul a wonderful destination for your next trip.

Topkapi Palace

Home to the Ottoman sultans for 400 years, this compound originally hosted entertainments, state celebrations, and ceremonies.

topkapi

Photo by Jeffrey Lafever.

Blue Mosque

Known for its famous blue tiles, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built to show the grandeur and power of the Ottoman Empire.

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Photo by Clarissa Ng.

Basilica Cistern

This massive underground collection vessel is located near the Haggia Sofia and was once the original site of a massive Basilica. Be sure to spend time looking at the carved columns.

basilica cistern

Photo by Natasha Amar.

Grand Bazaar

Established in the 15th century, this sprawling marketplace offers amazing treasure hunting amidst the odoriferous spice stalls. Be sure to block out an afternoon to get the full experience.

grand bazar

Photo by Little Mermaid at Sea.

Süleyman Mosque

Construction began in the 16th century by the Sultan Süleyman. It is one of the most recognizable sites in Istanbul.

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Photo by Emiko Atherton.

Chora Church

First a church, then a mosque, and now a museum since 1948, it is a showcase of beautiful Byzantine-era mosaics and frescoes.

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Photo by Travel Notes & Beyond.

Bosphorus Strait

The passageway between East and West, this body of water has been a historic crossing since ancient times.

bosphorus

Photo by MiMi DiZ.

Where should you take a magic carpet ride next? Look East to find some inspiration here. We would love to see what you have been up to over at Trover.com.

13 Incredible Spots for a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot air balloon rides offer incredible views for passengers, but also make for a beautiful view to spectators on the ground.

Whether you want to see your hometown from a new perspective, explore someplace new, or simply try something different and exciting, there are hundreds of beautiful places to take a hot air balloon ride around the world.

To help get your inspiration flowing, we’ve put together a list of some of the most incredible spots to take a hot air balloon ride. Read on to see our favorites:

1. Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Trover photo by Braden Jarvis

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15 of the Most Isolated Monasteries in the World

Some of the world’s most incredible places of worship and spiritual study are also some of the most difficult to access. Most of the time, this was intentional in the design of the complex.

Whether perched on a cliff, hidden in high mountains, or built into the side of rock formations, these monasteries, temples and abbeys were designed to isolate and test the dedication of the monks and nuns who inhabit them, bringing them closer to God in a place of peace.

Though some of these ancient monasteries are no longer in use, all of them make for fascinating travel destinations, especially for those interested in religion, architecture, history and geology. If that sounds like you, read on for 15 of the world’s most isolated monasteries:

 

1. The incredible Greek Orthodox monasteries of Meteora, Greece

Trover photo by Allan Tipon

 

2. The ninth-century Sevanavank Monastery on Lake Sevan in Armenia

Trover photo by Mattyboy876

 

3. The fifth-century Hanging Temple in Datong, China

Trover photo by Ai Long

 

4. The Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa in Amorgos, Greece

Trover photo by Travel with all senses

 

5. The 1st-century BC Monastery at Petra in Jordan

Trover photo by Prytz

 

6. The Taktsang Palphug Monastery (aka “Tiger’s Nest) in Paro, Bhutan

Trover photo by Earth Trekkers

 

7. The 16th-century Blagaj Tekke in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Trover photo by Candice Walsh

 

8. The 1st-century Saint Catherine’s Monastery at the base of Mount Sinai in Egypt

Trover photo by Betina Winsig Hansen

 

9. Sanctuary of Madonna della Corona in Spiazzi, Italy

Trover photo by Paige Spee

 

10. Kye Monastery in the Spiti Valley of India

Trover photo by Mihir Shah

 

11. The fourth-century Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery in Maçka, Turkey

Trover photo by Klando va de viaje

 

12. The sixth-century St. George’s Monastery in Wadi Qelt, Israel

Trover photo by Adina Troper Dayan

 

13. Santa Maria of Montserrat Abbey in Catalonia, Spain

Trover photo by Tom Stahl

 

14. Basarbovo Monastery in Basarbovo, Bulgaria

 

15. Ypapanti Monastery in Kalambaka, Greece

Trover photo by Allan Tipon

 

How’s that for some monastic inspiration? To see more of the world’s most isolated monasteries, check out the full list here, and don’t forget to share your own isolated discoveries on Trover!

 

New and Notable: Trending Places

New and Notable: Trending Places

Need a few more entries for your bucket list? Our talented Trovers are hard at work digging up new travel destinations from Thailand to Turkey. Visit the site of the world’s first mausoleum, comb beaches in Thailand, or grab a coffee in a sunny port in the Mediterranean. Our Trovers are inspired to show you the world.

Da Nang, Vietnam

Encircled by mountains to the west and ocean to the east, Da Nang is an important cultural port city.

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Trover photo by Olga Lakota

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Named in honor of a former king, the islands outside the city have become popular with backpackers.

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Trover Photo by World on a Leash

Limassol, Cyprus

An ancient town full of history, one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean.

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Trover photo by Michele Thulborn-Chapman

Ao Nang, Thailand

Excellent rock climbing and scuba diving on the west coast of the Thai Peninsula.

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Trover photo by Jay Sheen

Bodrum, Turkey

Originally named Halicarnassus, this city was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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Trover photo by B.Wise

Check out other destinations getting attention in our What’s Hot List. Seized by wanderlust? Take a virtual tour of the best of everywhere at Trover.com.

Secret Gardens

Travel to some of the world’s most beautiful secret gardens found by our hard-working Trovers. Secret gardens have represented a tranquil respite from the to and fro rush of the day to day since ancient times. Here are some of the loveliest gardens posted by our fantastic Trovers from around the world. No digging required.

Chihuly Garden and Glass Sculpture Garden, Seattle WA

Dr. Seuss would feel right at home with the towering rock candy sculptures, shimmering mirror ponds, and jelly crystal spheres.

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The Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton, England

Built in the Indian style from the 18th century, the seaside gardens of the royals.

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Giverny: Monet’s Tranquil Muse

Monet created the gardens at Giverny so he could paint flowers and foliage.

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The Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy

Created as private gardens for the most powerful Italian family in Renaissance Italy, the Medici family, this garden is now open to the public.

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Kew Gardens, Richmond, England

Beginning as a merger of royal gardens in the 18th century, Kew is the  largest collection of the world’s living plants.

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Butchart Gardens, Victoria B.C

Built by the wife of a cement magnate, thousands travel to B.C. to have tea and walk these beautiful gardens.

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Tokyo Imperial Palace Gardens

The royal gardens of the Imperial family are open to the public.

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Bangalore Palace Gardens, Bangalore, India

Designed in the Victorian style.

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Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Lavish gardens of the Turkish Sultans.

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Jardin Majorelle, Marrakesh, Morocco

The culmination of 40 years of work by the French painter Jacques Majorelle.

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Find out How Your Garden Grows with more beautiful destinations from around the world and find more inspiring destinations from Trovers around the world on Trover.com.