Thousands of tourists to the wonderful city of Istanbul partake in the tradition of taking a Bosphorus cruise to see the majestic castle of Rumeli Fortress from a distance each year. The structure was involved in the siege and fall of Constantinople in 1453, and its design and particulars represent the historical events that led to this historic event—the dissolution of the Byzantine Empire after more than a thousand years and the emergence of the Ottoman Empire as a major player for the next five centuries—and its world-changing consequences.
Rumeli Fortress is one of the greatest attractions you get to visit in Istanbul. A majestic site with a tragic history behind it. In Rumeli Fortress, you can see the splendor and power of turkey’s former empires, like the Ottoman Empire.
Besides the historical importance of Rumeli Fortress, you can learn a lot about Turkey’s culture and artistic architecture when visiting this site.
The Rumeli fortress walls with towers and gates, as well as cisterns, fountains, and a mosque, are still there at the site, which stands out for its historical value. On the other hand, it has an extraordinarily picturesque location overlooking the Fatih Sultan Bridge that connects Europe and Asia and sheer monumentality.
The bottom part of the newly constructed Bosphorus University Campus houses a cultural center, complete with an outdoor theater and museum.
History of Rumeli Fortress (Rumeli Hisarı)
Rumeli Castle (Rumeli Hisar) is an Ottoman fortress that was built in 1452. Mehmed the Conqueror, the Ottoman monarch, constructed it in advance of taking over Constantinople. The castle is located about 660 meters into the Bosphorus Strait, which is where it is the narrowest.
Rumeli Fortress is just across from Anadolu Castle (Anadolu Hisar), another Ottoman fortress constructed in 1394 by Bayezid I. The Ottoman sultans constructed Anadolu Castle and Rumeli Fortress in an effort to block the Black Sea region’s northward flow of financial and military support for the Byzantine Empire. The Black Sea and the Marmara Sea are joined by the Bosphorus strait, which is an attraction for itself worth visiting.
The Rumeli fortress was used as a customs checkpoint until the seventeenth century and then as a jail until the nineteenth century after Constantinople was conquered in 1453, but it lost its military significance in 1453.
Inside the castle, a community with homes, mosques, stores, etc., was established in the nineteenth century. But in the 1950s, this area was completely destroyed. Rumeli Fortress has served as a museum since 1960, and visitors are welcome to visit it as an outdoor museum.
Interesting facts about Rumeli Fortress
Rumeli Fortress was the location of a lot of famous Turkish movies.
The name of the Prophet Muhammad, which has the same Arabic spelling as Mehmed (the Ottoman ruler who ordered the construction of the castle), is shaped like the form of the Rumeli Castle from above.
This magnificent Rumeli fortress, which has been standing for more than five centuries, was constructed in just four months.
The architecture of Rumeli Fortress
There are thirteen smaller towers, three large towers, and one small tower in Rumeli Castle, all of which are in excellent shape. When it was built, the castle’s name was Boazkesen, and its architect was Müslihiddin (Strait Cutter).
A 30,000 square meter area was used to construct the castle complex. The walls are up to 7 meters thick and were constructed using stones taken from nearby ruins. The three main towers had pitched roofs covered in lead until 1830 and were named for the viziers Halil Paşa, Saruca Paşa, and Zaganos Paşa. The complex additionally has thirteen other smaller towers that are joined by walls.
Rumeli Fortress (Rumeli Hisarı) – basic info
- Address: Rumeli Hisarı, Yahya Kemal Cd., 34470 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey.
- Timings: every day from 9 AM to 4 PM.
- How to get there? The simplest way to go to the Rumeli Fortress, which is located on the Bosphorus shore, is to board a bus that passes by the Rumeli Hisar bus station and get out at the Rumeli Hisar bus stop. The bus station is very adjacent to the castle.
But if you want to just take an overlook of the fortress from a distance, you can take a Bosphorus cruise that passes by Rumeli Fortress.
Final words about Rumeli Fortress
On your visit to Rumeli Fortress, you’ll also learn about Istanbul’s Ottoman history and archaeology, as well as about various treasures from the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman worlds. Also, you will learn about hamams, bazaars, and the aromas of a city that has always hovered on the brink of two continents and two worlds. Bonus, you’ll get a magnificent overlook of the gorgeous Bosphorus Strait.