Rumeli Fortress Museum in Istanbul (Rumeli Hisarı)
Rumeli Hisari Fortress was built in 1452 by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, aka Mehmed the Conqueror. The fortress was built in preparation for the Ottoman’s conquest of the city of Constantinople – modern day Istanbul. Situated on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait, the fortress is a massive complex with a remarkable history.
The fortress is across from the Andadolu Hisari, another major tourist attraction in Istanbul. Rumeli Hisari Fortress was constructed by the Ottoman sultans to prevent military and economic aid to the Byzantine Empire. The building covers a massive 30-acres in Sarıyer which can be explored on a visit.
The history of Rumeli Hisari Fortress
Designed by Ottoman Empire’s architect Muslihiddin, the fortress is made up of three large towers and 14 smaller towers. Each tower is in good condition today. Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the fortress lost its importance to the empire. After losing its military importance, Rumeli Hisari became a customs checkpoint. Then in the 17th century, the fortress became a prison.
The fortress had different names — at first it was «Kulle-i Cedide» or «Yenice Hisar», which means «New castle». But exact name of fortress, because of her position was «Boğazkesen Hisarı» — the fortress which cut the Bosphorus waterway between two sides of Istanbul — Asian and European. On the Asian side opposite Rumeli Hisari there is Anadolu Hisari fortress.
Remarkably, in the 19thcentury, a neighborhood was created inside the fortress. The neighborhood contained houses, a mosque, shops, and much more. In the 1950s, the neighborhood was destroyed and it was later turned into a museum and opened in 1968. Since it was opened, it has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Istanbul.
A remarkable fortress
One of the most fascinating aspects of Rumeli Fortress is that it is in the shape of the name of the Prophet Muhammad when looking down on the castle from above. Builders took just four months to erect the fortress and its grounds. Over the last five decades, Rumeli Hisari has been the setting for a number of Turkish and international films.
The fortress possesses four main gates, which are named “Mountain Gate”, “Dizdar Gate”, “Hisarpeçe Gate” and “Sel Gate”. There is a secondary gate known as “Mezarlik Gate”. There is a total of 17 towers with the most significant being “Saruca Pasha”, “Halil Pasha”, “Great Zaganos Pasha” and “Young Zaganos Pasha”.
Walking around the garden outside the museum, you will find items such as cannonballs and a chain used along the Bosphorus Strait exhibited. One of the most popular activities to do when visiting the museum is to look at the Bosphorus Strait from the lush green garden of the fortress.
How to get to the Rumeli Hisarı Fortress?
Rumeli Hisari is situated on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait. The quickest way to reach Rumeli Fortress is to take the bus that passes by Rumeli Hisarı bus station. You can take this to Rumeli Hisari bus stop where you will find the incredible fortress.
What else is near Rumeli Fortress?
The Rumeli Fortress is located near a number of popular tourist attractions including Aşiyan Museum, and the Bebek and Arnavutköy neighborhoods. Around the castle are a number of fantastic traditional restaurants that are perfect for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
But, you have take a walk on the long Bebek quay and then drınk a cup of coffee ın some nice place with a sea view here.
When to visit Rumeli Fortress?
Rumeli Hisari Fortress Museum is open Thursday to Tuesday each week. The doors open at 9:00 am and close at 5:00 pm. It costs 130 Turkish Liras to enter the Rumeli Hisari Fortress Museum.