Istanbul Rumeli Fortress
Rumeli Fortress Museum Entrance Fee and Opening Hours
Constantinople became the co-capital of Roman Empire in 330. Walls that surround the city was built at that time. But strong walls known as Walls of Constantinople dates back to Emperor Theodosius II (408-450 A.D)
When Theodosius II was a child, Anthemius, the highest-ranking officer of the time, built these walls recognized as impregnable walls in history. As a matter of fact, Byzantine Empire was able to stay in power for centuries because of these walls. Despite being surrounded by Huns, Avars, Bulgarians, Arabs and Persians several times, it remained still.
Likewise, the Ottomans tried to conquer Constantinople a couple of times until the final outcome in 1453. It was Bayezid I who attempted to capture the city for the first time and for that purpose, he built Anatolian Fortress at the shallowest spot on the Asian Side of Bosphorus, but he failed to conquer it.
Theodosian Walls in Istanbul
Who built it and When was it built?
It was Murad II who made the second attempt, but he failed as well. When he succeeded to the throne in 1451, Mehmed the Conqueror (Mehmed II) was determined to take the city. Therefore, he built Rumeli (European) Fortress right across the Anatolian Fortress which had been built by his grandfather.
The main reason to build the fortress was to control ship passages in Bosphorus. Genoese (Italian city-state) trade colonies were situated in the shores of the Black Sea and they could send aid to Constantinople. Mehmed II had observed the previous conquest attempt performed by his father and witnessed the blockade was damaged. To be able to take the city, one had to prevent aids coming from outside at first.
Construction began in 1452 by the order of Mehmed II. Çandarlı Halil Pasha, Zagan Pasha and Sarica Pasha ran the project in three separate groups. Thanks to the feverish labour of thousands of workers, the construction of Rumeli Fortress was completed like a record short time; within 4 months and 16 days.
Huge cannons were placed at the closest tower to the sea. In addition, a janissary (Ottoman elite forces) troop of 400 soldiers were serving there. Naturally, Venetians and Genoese that had trade colonies in Constantinople were not pleased about it.
Shortly afterwards, one of the Venetian trade ships tried to run the blockade. Ignoring signals coming from the Fortress, it was bombarded and sunk. This incident made it clear that no ships would be passing through the Bosphorus without the consent of the Sultan.
Rumeli Fortress, which was a symbol of the Ottoman Empire‘s dominance in Bosphorus throughout the history serves as a museum today. Naming after the neighborhood that it resides, the fortress is worth seeing as it offers a magnificent Istanbul view.
The restaurants and cafes in the district are famous with their breakfast service. Having a breakfast at Rumeli Hisari neighborhood and visiting the museum at weekends is one of the best activities to do in Istanbul.
Rumeli Hisari Fortress Entrance Fee 2020
The entrance fee for Rumeli Fortress is 18 Turkish Liras as of 2020. You can also use Istanbul Museum Pass to enter Rumeli Castle Museum. Some sections of the museum are closed to visitors due to restoration.
Rumeli Hisari Fortress Visiting Hours 2020
Rumeli Fortress is open to visitors between 09:00 in the morning and 19:00 in the summer season between 1 April and 1 October. It closes at 17:00 between 1 October and 1 April, which is considered the winter season.
Visiting times of museums in Istanbul may change due to events and renovations. Before going to the museum, I recommend you to visit the official website of Rumeli Fortress and review the latest situation.
View of Rumeli Castle from Bosphorus
Where is it and How to go to the Rumeli Fortress
Rumeli Fortress is located in Sarıyer district. As it names after the neighborhood it resides, you can reach there easily by getting on buses travelling in Rumeli Castle (Rumeli Hisarı) direction. It is close to Bosphorus University (Boğaziçi Üniversitesi) and Etiler subway stations.
Written by Serhat Engul