Enez Castle

Enez Castle

Enez Castle, locally known as Enez Kalesi, lies in the center of the town with the same name, in the province of Edirne in Turkey.

Enez Castle was most probably built under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, in the 2nd quarter of the 6th century. Because it was during his reign that the city walls were heightened and the previously unprotected shore fortified. According to the contemporary Byzantine historian Procopius it was built to stop invading barbarians coming from the Balkans.

The castle was built on a rock were the acropolis of the antique Greek town of Aenus had stood before. The town, called Ainos by the Byzantines, was, and still is, partly surrounded by broad marshes at the estuary of the Meriç/Evros river, which now forms the border between Turkey and Greece.

In 1189, the town was plundered by soldiers of the Third Crusade under Duke Frederick of Swabia, with the inhabitants fleeing by ship.

Under Latin rule, in the first part of the 13th century, the town was attacked by a Cuman raid in 1237. By 1263 it was back in Byzantine hands again. In 1294 it was besieged by the Bulgarians.

In the first half of the 1350's, the city was contested between the Byzantine Senior Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos and his co-Emperor John V Palaiologos. With the gradual Ottoman conquest of Thrace in the 1360's and 1370's, the city became a haven for the Greek population. From around 1384 the city was ruled by the Genoese until 1456 when it was attacked, from land and sea, and taken by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.

Mehmed gave the city to Demetrios Palaiologos as an appanage in 1463, but took it back in 1467 after the latter had fallen into disgrace. The Venetians briefly captured the city in 1469. The Ottomans restored Enez Castle and turned the 6th century Hagia Sophia Basilica within the castle walls into a mosque.

Currently, most of the interior buildings of the castle have disappeared. The basilica/mosque has also fallen into ruin. The walls of the castle are mostly still standing, just like a wall with several towers that was part of the outer line of fortications defending the shore.

At present Enez Castle is freely accessible. Archaeological excavations seem to be ongoing and when I visited, the basilica/mosque was closed off and looked like it was being rebuilt. A very nice castle in a quiet town.


Gallery

Enez Castle

Enez Castle

Enez Castle, locally known as Enez Kalesi, lies in the center of the town with the same name, in the province of Edirne in Turkey.

Enez Castle was most probably built under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, in the 2nd quarter of the 6th century. Because it was during his reign that the city walls were heightened and the previously unprotected shore fortified. According to the contemporary Byzantine historian Procopius it was built to stop invading barbarians coming from the Balkans.

The castle was built on a rock were the acropolis of the antique Greek town of Aenus had stood before. The town, called Ainos by the Byzantines, was, and still is, partly surrounded by broad marshes at the estuary of the Meriç/Evros river, which now forms the border between Turkey and Greece.

In 1189, the town was plundered by soldiers of the Third Crusade under Duke Frederick of Swabia, with the inhabitants fleeing by ship.

Under Latin rule, in the first part of the 13th century, the town was attacked by a Cuman raid in 1237. By 1263 it was back in Byzantine hands again. In 1294 it was besieged by the Bulgarians.

In the first half of the 1350's, the city was contested between the Byzantine Senior Emperor John VI Kantakouzenos and his co-Emperor John V Palaiologos. With the gradual Ottoman conquest of Thrace in the 1360's and 1370's, the city became a haven for the Greek population. From around 1384 the city was ruled by the Genoese until 1456 when it was attacked, from land and sea, and taken by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.

Mehmed gave the city to Demetrios Palaiologos as an appanage in 1463, but took it back in 1467 after the latter had fallen into disgrace. The Venetians briefly captured the city in 1469. The Ottomans restored Enez Castle and turned the 6th century Hagia Sophia Basilica within the castle walls into a mosque.

Currently, most of the interior buildings of the castle have disappeared. The basilica/mosque has also fallen into ruin. The walls of the castle are mostly still standing, just like a wall with several towers that was part of the outer line of fortications defending the shore.

At present Enez Castle is freely accessible. Archaeological excavations seem to be ongoing and when I visited, the basilica/mosque was closed off and looked like it was being rebuilt. A very nice castle in a quiet town.


Gallery