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Presenter : Ian Wright

Around the World: Part 8: East to West: Istanbul to Vienna

Route 66 with Justine Shapiro

Ian Wright at Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia

hitching to bulgaria

In the final episode of Globe Trekkers Round the World Series, Ian Wright bridges the gap between East and West on an iconic journey from the exotic and cosmopolitan city of Istanbul, to one of Europe’s grandest and most sophisticated hubs,Vienna.

It’s an incredible adventure that takes in seven countries and a multitude of rich and varied cultures steeped in ancient history and set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty.

Istanbul was the centre of one of the worlds most powerful Empires.  At its height, the Ottoman Empire was vast but its 16th century Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, wanted more, namely Europe, and Vienna was the prize.

Inside the Süleymaniye Mosque

Ian begins his adventure with a visit to Istanbul’s magnificent Süleymaniye Mosque to experience the grandeur of the Empire and learn about its ambitious Sultan.

Ian in split, CroatiaFollowing in the footsteps of the Ottoman Empire’s march on Europe, Ian heads northward, hitching a ride on a truck, to Bulgaria.

First stop, Plovdiv, home to one of the oldest civilizations in Europe.  After exploring the cities wealth of Roman ruins and beautifully preserved Ottoman period homes Ian dons a toga and joins in an ancient Thracian ritual where the wine…and blood, flow!

Then it’s off to Serbia.  Once at the heart of the former Yugoslavia, Serbia has a complex and tragic history as Ian learns on a visit to itssouthern city, Nis, where he visits a macabre remnant of the Ottoman occupation there.

 

Sargan 8 RailwayBut Serbia has much more to offer the adventurous traveller.  Ian hops aboard Serbia’s wonderfully old fashioned Sargan mountain steam train and embarks on another adventure towards Bosnia Herzegovina.

Ethnically diverse and surprisingly beautiful, Ian finds the war torn image of Bosnia Herzegovina to be misleading.  After taking a death defying plunge with the fearless bridge divers of Visegrad, Ian heads to the breathtaking peaks of Bosnia’s SutjeskaNational Park where he explores some of the last remaining virgin forest in all of Europe and spends the evening working and relaxing with the local shepherds.

Dubrovnik

Moving on, Ian crosses into Croatia to explore the stunning coastline of the Adriatic Sea and its ancient cities, Dubrovnik and Split.

Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Europe and it’s easy to see why.  This is where history, culture and outstanding natural beauty come together in perfect harmony and Ian soaks up every sun and sea drenched second of it.

But it was the ancient Romans who spotted its holiday potential first.  In Split Ian tours the famous remains of Emperor Diocletians retirement palace with none other than Diocletian himself and learns that contradicting an Emperor is not a good idea.  Ian is forced to taste gladiatorial combat first hand, but it turns out, he could teach Russell Crowe a few tricks!

In the final leg of his journey Ian travels into Hungary, picking up the Ottoman trail again with a visit to the tiny town of Szigetvar.  After getting a lesson in 16th century warfare Ian is ready to tackle his final destination, Vienna.

Home to Mozart, the waltz, Sigmund Freud and delicious cakes Ian explores Vienna from top to bottom, literally.  In the tunnels deep beneath the city’s oldest bakery, Ian learns about the one of the most pivotal battles in European history.  According to legend, the 1683 Ottoman siege of Vienna would have changed the fate of Western Europe if it were it not for the heroic deeds of the city’s bakers, but to find out how you will just have to tune in.

See our Guide to:
Horse Riding in the Caucuses, Georgia

Who Was Diocletian?

Meteor Crater along route 66

Ian on the road in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Credits

With huge thanks to the following individuals and companies:

EKOL LOGISTICS

TURKISH TOURIST BOARD

MINISTRY OF ECONOMY, ENERGY AND TOURISM – BULGARIA

TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER – PLOVDIV MUNICIPALITY

NATIONAL TOURISM ORGANISATION OF SERBIA

TAJNA VEČERA RESTAURANT

TIM CLANCEY

SERBIAN RAILWAYS

SARGAN EIGHT

REPUBLIKA SRPSKA RAILWAYS

TOURIST ORGANIZATION OF VISEGRAD

TOURIST ORGANIZATION OF REPUBLIC OF SRPSKA

SUTJESKA NATIONAL PARK

MOUNTAINEERING ASSOCIATION ZELENGORA

MARKO PAVLOVICI & BORKO MILADINOVIC

DUBROVNIK TOURIST BOARD

TOURIST BOARD OF SPLIT

TOURIST BOARD OF KŐSZEG

GÁBOR TÓTH – TOURIST GUIDE

SZIGETVAR TOURIST BOARD

HUNGARIAN TOURISM BOARD

ERIKA HANCZ

VIENNA TOURIST BOARD

BRITISH AIRWAYS

Places Mentioned - Austria, Hungary, The Balkans, Turkey

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Destination Guides

Austria

Europe

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Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Balkans

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Croatia

The Balkans

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