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Reflections from Turkey


The Fortress of Rumeli – Gloria Kebirungi

By Dena Bodian on March 19, 2013
Rumeli Fortress with Gloria Kebirungi ('15) in the foreground

Rumeli Fortress with Gloria Kebirungi (’15) in the foreground

Rumeli Fortress is a beautiful castle located in the city of Istanbul on the European side of the Bosphorus.  Rumeli was built by Sultan Mehmed II. It was built on the opposite side of the Anadolihisari, the narrowest place of Bosphorus in order to control sea traffic and to conquer Istanbul which was then Constantinople.

It was built between 1451 and 1452 to prevent aid from the Black Sea to reach Constantinople in 1453 particularly from the Genoese colonies. This grand fortress was built in a period of four months!

In a previous Ottoman attempt to conquer the city, Sultan Murad II (1404–1451) had encountered difficulties due to a blockade of the Bosphorus by the Byzantine fleet. The Ottomans then realized how necessary it was to build a fortress opposite of Anadoluhisarı. After the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453, the Fortress of Rumeli was converted into a prison. From the pictures attached, I think you can see how hard it was for the prisoners to escape. Years later, in 1958, the Fortress of Rumeli became a museum that was restored by the Turkish government. These days, it’s also a popular venue for cultural performances and events, concerts and theatre, many of which are conducted from its large amphitheater. I loved the fact that they let us explore the fortress on our own which was different from simply sight seeing and being educated by a tour guide.

Christopher Donnelly (’15) and Colin Shipley (’15) scale the walls of the fortress.

My fellow classmates, Christopher and Colin that were able to climb to the highest walls, fully enjoyed the spectacular views of Istanbul while me and a few others watched them from below because of our fear of heights and the fact that there were no railings on these very high towers. I was still able to enjoy the beautiful view and absolutely loved exploring something different from the other great sites in Istanbul!


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