6 Best Towers and Fortresses to Visit in Istanbul

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Istanbul is a city of various historical textures. From countless Ottoman palaces and mansions to historical sites like museums, this city has thousands of years of history behind it, and the best part is, a great portion of that history can still be experienced today. Some of the more underrated historical attractions of the city are its towers and military fortresses. If you want to learn more about these gems, here are the top fortresses and towers in Istanbul.


Rumeli Hisari (Rumeli Fortress)

Built right before Mehmed the Conqueror took Istanbul from the Byzantine Empire, this large fortress has been watching over the Bosphorus for many years. Its initial function was to cut any possible aid that may come to Byzantines from the Bosphorus. Because of this, Rumeli Hisari was also called “Bogazkesen” (Strait-cutter). It is built on the narrowest point of the Bosphorus to make the defense of the strait as easy as possible. It sits on the opposite side of the Anadolu Hisari, in the Sariyer district. It covers a total of 60,000 m2 of area, has 5 gates and 4 towers.

Throughout centuries, Rumeli Hisari was damaged many times due to earthquakes, but was repaired every time. It was abandoned in the 19th century, so many people started living inside the fortress. In 1953, thought, these inhabitants were relocated and the Rumeli Fortress underwent a 3-year restoration period in 1955. In 1960, it was opened as a public museum. Today, you can tour this grand museum’s walls and towers, while also taking part in the many events it hosts during the summer months. It gave its name to countless local businesses because of its importance in Turkish history, and it is easily the most famous one among the historical fortresses in Istanbul.


Anadolu Hisari (Anatolian Fortress)