Rumeli Fortress


Rumeli Fortress is located on a hill on the European side of the Bosphorus, north of the Bebek district, on the narrowest point of the Bosphorus; giving the name of the quarter around it. It was built by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II between 1451 and 1452 before he conquered Constantinople. It took four months to build, thanks to 3000 labourers and master masons. It was originally built to establish control of the Bosphorus, where ships had to approach, to avoid the strong currents. It is thought that as many as 400 soldiers were stationed at the fortress, using canons to prevent the passage of the ships, during the siege of Constantinople.

The three great towers were named after three of Mehmed II's viziers, who supervised the construction. Sadrazam Çandarlı Halil Pasha, who built the big tower next to the gate, ZaÄŸanos Pasha, who built the south tower, and Sarıca Pasha, who built the north tower. Its crenellated walls and round towers offer great views of the Bosporus.

The Rumeli Fortress has one small tower, three main towers and thirteen smaller watchtowers. One watchtower is a quadratic prism, six watchtowers are shaped as prisms and the other six are cylindrical.

The Halil Pasha Tower is a dodecagon prism and is in the middle of the fortress. The main tower, the Zağanos Pasha Tower has 8 stories and is also cylindrical. The floors are divided with wooden flooring and each level was equipped with a furnace. The north main tower, known as the Sarıca Pasha Tower, is cylindrical and has 9 stories. Today it is known as the Faith Tower after the Sultan Mehmed II.

Rumeli Fortress has three main gates, each next to the main towers; one is a side gate and the others are secret gates, used for retrieving food and arsenal.  There was also a small mosque and housing for the soldiers, however only parts of the minaret of the mosque survived.  Water was obtained by a large cistern underneath the mosque and distributed through three wall-fountains, of which only one remains.

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