Rumelihisarı Castle

Rumelihisarı Castle, locally known just as Rumelihisarı, lies in the Sarıyer district of the city of Istanbul, on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait in the province of Istanbul in Turkey.

Rumelihisarı translates back to Roman (Rumeli-) fortress (-hisarı). Originally it was called Boğazkesen, which translates back to 'Strait-cutter'.

The first fortication at this site was a Roman fort that was later used as a prison by the Byzantines and the Genoese. Later on it was transformed into a monastery.

Rumelihisarı Castle was built in 1452 in a record time of 4.5 months by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, in preparation for his siege of the then-Byzantine city of Constantinople, at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus. It was built directly opposite Anadoluhisarı Castle on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, built by Sultan Bayezid I in the 1390's. 

Built on a hilly slope, with the use of lots of building materials from Roman ruins in the area, the castle got a very irregular ground plan with 3 formidable main towers, 3 gates and 12 secondary watchtowers connected by meandering curtain walls.

After being completed the castle was garrisoned with a battalion of 400 Janssaries and large cannons were placed in the large tower nearest the waterfront. The 2 castles worked in tandem in 1453 to block all maritime traffic along the Bosphorus, thus aiding the Ottomans during their siege of Constantinople.

After Constantinople had fallen at the end of a 53-day siege in 1453, Rumelihisarı served as a customs checkpoint and occasional prison, notably for the embassies of states that were at war with the Empire. After suffering extensive damage in the Great Earthquake of 1509, the structure was repaired.

In 1746 it was damaged by fire. Later that century it lost its strategic importance after several new fortifications (i.a. Garipçe, Poyrazköy and Rumelifeneri castles) were built at the entrance to the Bosphorus from the Black Sea.

In the 19th century it was abandoned and a small residential neighborhood grew up within the castle's walls. During the late 1950's the neighborhood was removed and the castle restored. Since then it has been a museum.

At present Rumelihisarı Castle can be visited for a small fee. Its interior however feels a bit empty; there are no structures inside besides a small mosque with a cistern beneath it, the 3 main towers can be visited but only at ground level and you are not allowed to access the wall walks on the curtain walls, too bad. But still a formidable castle.


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Rumelihisarı Castle

Rumelihisarı Castle, locally known just as Rumelihisarı, lies in the Sarıyer district of the city of Istanbul, on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait in the province of Istanbul in Turkey.

Rumelihisarı translates back to Roman (Rumeli-) fortress (-hisarı). Originally it was called Boğazkesen, which translates back to 'Strait-cutter'.

The first fortication at this site was a Roman fort that was later used as a prison by the Byzantines and the Genoese. Later on it was transformed into a monastery.

Rumelihisarı Castle was built in 1452 in a record time of 4.5 months by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, in preparation for his siege of the then-Byzantine city of Constantinople, at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus. It was built directly opposite Anadoluhisarı Castle on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, built by Sultan Bayezid I in the 1390's. 

Built on a hilly slope, with the use of lots of building materials from Roman ruins in the area, the castle got a very irregular ground plan with 3 formidable main towers, 3 gates and 12 secondary watchtowers connected by meandering curtain walls.

After being completed the castle was garrisoned with a battalion of 400 Janssaries and large cannons were placed in the large tower nearest the waterfront. The 2 castles worked in tandem in 1453 to block all maritime traffic along the Bosphorus, thus aiding the Ottomans during their siege of Constantinople.

After Constantinople had fallen at the end of a 53-day siege in 1453, Rumelihisarı served as a customs checkpoint and occasional prison, notably for the embassies of states that were at war with the Empire. After suffering extensive damage in the Great Earthquake of 1509, the structure was repaired.

In 1746 it was damaged by fire. Later that century it lost its strategic importance after several new fortifications (i.a. Garipçe, Poyrazköy and Rumelifeneri castles) were built at the entrance to the Bosphorus from the Black Sea.

In the 19th century it was abandoned and a small residential neighborhood grew up within the castle's walls. During the late 1950's the neighborhood was removed and the castle restored. Since then it has been a museum.

At present Rumelihisarı Castle can be visited for a small fee. Its interior however feels a bit empty; there are no structures inside besides a small mosque with a cistern beneath it, the 3 main towers can be visited but only at ground level and you are not allowed to access the wall walks on the curtain walls, too bad. But still a formidable castle.


Gallery