Richard & Stacy's Round the World Trip 2001

Up
Ferry up the Bosphorus
The Fortress of Europe
The Dolmabahce Palace

The Rumeli Hisari (Fortress of Europe) was built by Mehmet II ("the Conqueror") in 1452. Fifty years earlier, Beyazit I had built the Anadolu Hisari (Fortress of Asia) in a failed attempt to capture Constantinople. Mehmet planned the fortress himself and then supervised the construction of the walls, having appointed his grand vizier and two other viziers to supervise the construction of the three great towers (in Turkish, the word for tower is "kulesi"). Each tower is named for the vizier that supervised the construction. A competition of sorts between the sultan and his viziers saw the entire fortress built in four months.

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Looking into the Outer Courtyard of Rumeli Hisari, with bronze cannons and mortars on display.   Entering the Inner Courtyard, looking up at the northern walls and towers of the fortress.
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A picture of Neslihan and her father in the Inner Courtyard. Shortly after this picture was taken, Neslihan and her father ran up the stairs to the northern wall.   Stacy in pursuit of Neslihan, climbing the stairs of the open air theatre toward the northern wall. This open air theatre was built in recent times for music festivals in the fortress. 
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Looking at the Halil Pasa Kulesi (Tower) from a landing above the open air theatre. The column on the left of the photo is the remains of the minaret of Ebulfeth Mosque, which was built by Mehmet II over the ruins of a Byzantine era cistern.   Looking into the Inner Courtyard from the northern wall. This area was once the fields where the barracks of the Janissaries stood.
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Looking over the northern wall into the hill behind the fortress.   Looking across the Bosphorus to the Anadolu Hisari (Fortress of Asia).

When the Fortress of Europe was completed, it was garrisoned by a force of Janissaries. These troops, in combination with troops in the Fortress of Asia, closed the Bosphorus to sea traffic. The fortress was nicknamed Bogazkesen, meaing "Throat-cutter". Using cannon, a Venetian vessel attempting to come down the Bosphorus to Constantinople was sunk, proving the effectiveness of the fortresses. Closing off the Bosphorus protected Mehmet II's forces from attack from behind as they assaulted Constantinople.

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Richard on the northern wall of the fortress.   A staircase off the northern wall into the fields in the northeast of the fortress.
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Looking up the staircase, as the tour group works its way down... no handrails here!   The rest of the tour group head over to the lower part of the eastern wall.

After the climb up the northern wall, most of the tour group had had enough of steep climbing. But not Richard - he wanted to explore the great towers, especially the Sarlica Pasa Kulesi in the northeast corner of the fortress.

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At the northern most corner of the eastern wall, looking straight up the side of the Sarlica Pasa Kulesi.   From the same spot, looking west down the northern wall of the fortress to the Zaganos Pasa Kulesi. The section of the northern wall the group climbed is near the centre.
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Looking east from the same spot on the northern wall over the battlements to Istiney Bay and the Faith Sultan Mehmet Bridge.   Moving south along the eastern wall, looking at Stacy down on the lower part of the wall.
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Overlooked by the Sarlica Pasa Kulesi is the Dag Kapi - the eastern gate of the Fortress of Europe.   Richard isn't the only one off on his own - Neslihan tears ahead of the tour group on the eastern wall.
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At the base and entrance way to the Sarlica Pasa Kulesi, which is unfortunately locked.    The long trail back down from the Sarlica Pasa Kulesi and eastern wall.

Unfortunately, none of the great towers were open to the public - very frustrating! Only the walls could be explored. And we were pressed for time - only 25 minutes to explore this amazing ruin. After the one sprint to the Sarlica Pasa Kulesi and wander along the walls, we gathered together again in the Inner Courtyard.

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Stacy makes a detour past the WC in the Inner Courtyard before we return to the bus. Some of the 19th century iron cannons and cannonballs in the Inner Courtyard.
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A section of the chain once used to block passage down the Bosphorus. The chain was stretched from the Fortress of Europe to the Fortress of Asia. On the way out of the fortress, a lizard ran out in front of us and sunned himself while hunting insects...

Mehmet II succeeded in his siege and capture of Constantinople - he wasn't called "the Conqueror" for nothing. Ultimately he renamed the city Istanbul and established the Ottoman empire in Turkey once and for all. But once Istanbul was under his control, the importance of the Fortress of Europe waned, and it was eventually used as a prison. It was restored in 1953. 

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