Rumeli Fortress is a 550-year-old building located on the European side of the Bosphorus. Built during the Ottoman period, the fortress was built to prevent interference from the Black Sea during the siege of Constantinople.
The surrounding of Rumeli Fortress is a very lively tourist center today. There are great restaurants and cafes in this neighborhood where Istanbulites come to have breakfast on weekends.
You can find information about the history of Rumeli Fortress in this article. In addition, the Rumeli Fortress entrance fee and opening hours are also noted. In order to explain the history of the Rumelian Fortress, we will go back a bit in history and talk about the city defense in the Roman and Byzantine periods.
Walls of Constantinople
Constantinople became the co-capital of Roman Empire in 330. First 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 attacked 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.
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 (Asian) Fortress which had been built by his grandfather.
The History of Rumeli Fortress
The main reason to build the fortress was to control ship passages in Bosphorus. Genoese and Venetian (Italian city-states) 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.
The history of Rumeli Fortress dates back to the middle of the 15th century. Construction began in 1452 by the order of Mehmed II. Candarli 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 Turkish 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 2022
Rumeli Fortress entrance fee is 30 Turkish Liras as of 2022. You can also use Istanbul Museum Pass to enter Rumeli Hisari (known by this name in the local language). Some sections of the museum are closed to visitors due to restoration.
Rumeli Hisari Fortress Opening Hours 2022
Rumeli Fortress opening hours are between 09:00 in the morning and 17:00 in the evening. Please also note that the museum is closed on Mondays.
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.
How to Get to The Fortress?
Rumeli Fortress is located in Sariyer district on the northern shores of the Bosphorus. In order to go to Rumeli Fortress from Sultanahmet, you can take Tram T1 to Kabatas Station and from there you can take buses to Rumeli Hisari direction.
In order to go to Rumeli Hisari from Taksim, you can reach Kabatas in just 5 minutes with Funicular F1 and from there you can take buses to Rumeli Hisari direction. The bus ride can take a long time, as the roads along the Bosphorus are a bit busy. However, as you will pass through the districts such as Ortakoy, Arnavutkoy and Bebek, the beauty of the scenery ensures you have a good time.
If you come from the districts where there are business hotels such as Sisli, Levent and Maslak you can also use the metro to reach the fortress. The Museum is close to Bosphorus University (Bogazici Universitesi) and Etiler subway stations.
Those coming from the Asian Side (Kadikoy or Uskudar) can come to Besiktas by ferry and continue north by bus. In fact, Rumeli Fortress can be reached on foot from Besiktas. However, you will have to walk for at least half an hour. This walk, where you will see the most beautiful views of the Bosphorus, can be a fun activity for you.
If you want to see a list of historical places in Istanbul like Rumeli Hisari, I recommend the article on the best places to visit in Istanbul. In this article, you can find brief information about the most important historical monuments of Istanbul.
Written by Serhat Engul
The website mentions that the fortress is closed. Is it worth it to visit if some sections are closed for restoration?
Serhat Engül says
Hello Hanady, no unfortunately it is not the right time to visit Rumeli Fortress. There is currently a major renovation.
Greg Hadden says
What is the estimated re-opening date of the Fortress?
Serhat Engül says
Hi Greg, according to the official site, Rumeli Fortress is partially open to visitors at the moment. As far as I can follow from the latest news, the restoration will be completely finished in the summer of 2023 (July or August).