With Rumeli Fortress’ historical aura, taste spots, mansions and magnificent view of Bosporus, spending a day in Rumeli Fortress is like setting sail towards peace, enchantment and bliss. It is open to visit between 09 am and 4 pm except from Wednesdays. It is on Europe side shore of Istanbul and opposite the other Turkish fortress built earlier on the Asian shore. This impressive fortress is a fine example of classic Turkish fortress architecture.
Rumeli Fortress was completed in a very short time of four months in 1452 by Mehmet the Conqueror to prevent any reinforcements and help coming from the Black Sea during his siege of Constantinople. Mehmet chose the narrowest point with 660 m of the Bosporus strait of Bosporus for its location. It has 3 main towers and Mehmet ordered his 3 viziers to take responsibility for one of the towers. All towers’ construction was completed on schedule by viziers otherwise they would pay with their life. Therefore, completion of the work in time is not surprising.
After Mehmet conquered the Constantinople, The fortress lost its strategic importance and it was used as a Bosporus tollbooth then as a barracks, prison and as a last since its restoration in 1953 it has been a museum and an open air theatre. Still today, gardens of the fortress are used as an amphitheatre during the annual Festival of Arts and also during summer months for concerts.
When you go and visit the European Fortress you should watch steep stairs without barriers. From the heights of Rumeli Fortress there are magnificent views of Bosporus, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Anatolian Fortress. In the castle grounds you can see a collection of Ottoman cannon and the well preserved 3-5 metres thick curtain walls. The fortress is a walled-in enclosure 250 meters long and 130 meters wide at it’s longest. It has one small and three large towers and thirteen small watchtowers but The Black Tower and The Rose Tower built by two viziers are both closed to visit.
Behind the European fortress there is the campus of Bagazizi (Bosporus) University on the slopes. In this campus also Robert College used to occupy which is the first American educational institution established outside the States.