Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rumeli Hisari

Rumeli Hisari is a fortress built in 1452 by Sultan Mehmed the Conquerer. It is built into the hillside along the European side of the Bosphorus and covers an area of 30,000 square meters. The building work was completed in just 4 months, from April to August of that year. The best view of the entire fortress is from the ferry. The fortress is comprised of 3 major and 15 smaller towers and the walls that connect them.
Since there was a shortage of time to complete the fortress, anything available was used for building materials, including marble from earlier Byzantine buildings destroyed by earthquake.

The flag tower is in the center front and is a 12 sided tower. This is the only tower you can go in, although no one is allowed to climb up inside the tower.

The inside view shows nicely finished arched windows. Not in this picture, but there is also a modern day elevator installed around 1930. The original purpose of this fortress, was to monitor traffic on the Bosphorus. At night, a chain could be raised to halt traffic trying to get by without paying the toll.

A few links from that chain... each link is about 20 inches long.

Here is the major tower to the upper right, which is the tallest tower.

And here is the major tower to the upper left. Each major tower had it's own builder, so that may account for the different styles.

The gardens inside the fortress are maintained by Erkan. He has been working there for a year after having been the gardener at the Topaki Palace. In his self taught English, he told me the names of the various fruit trees on the property. There are also 5 kinds of pine. He broke off a sprig of a pink flowering tree for me and also picked a few walnuts as a gift.

On the ferry back home, I took a picture of the Anadolu Hisari that this fortress connected to via the chain. If you can see the flag over one of the towers, it is aligned with my red apartment house here.

In addition to walnuts, figs are now in season. Here are some from the food store, ...

and one opened to see the fruit inside. Much tastier than a fig newton. I highly recommend the real thing.

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