Fortress of Europe (Rumeli Hisari)

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Istanbul, Turkey

Fortress of Europe (Rumeli Hisari) Istanbul Reviews

irenem irenem
152 reviews
Rumeli Hisari Feb 25, 2017
The Bosphorus is one of the most beautiful parts of Istanbul. You can visit it on a cruise, or you can take a bus up the European side, for example the Besiktas to Sariyer bus. Or you can take a bus up the Asian side, maybe starting in Uskudar and going to Anadolu Hisari, Beykoz, or Anadolu Kavagi.

On the European side of the Bosphorus one of the sights that is well worth visiting is the magnificent fortress of Rumeli Hisari with its thick walls and tall towers. From this fortress you can enjoy spectacular views over the Bosphorus, too.

Rumeli Hisari was constructed by Mehmet the Conqueror between 1451 and 1452, just before he conquered Constantinople. At that time the area he built the fortress on was outside the city. Mehmet the Conqueror wanted a fortress on the narrowest part of the Bosphorus in order to control all ships travelling on the Bosphorus. He was getting ready to lay siege to the city of Constantinople. By controlling the Bosphorus, he could cut off any food supply or weapons supply being brought to Constantinople from the north.

Opposite the site of Rumeli Hisari, on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, stood the fortress of Anadolu hisari which was built

between 1393 and 1394 by Sultan Bayezid I, The Thunderbolt. Mehmet the Conqueror also had control of this fortress, so he controlled both sides of the Bosphorus.

Mehmet the Conqueror made each of his three generals complete a tower of the fortress and spurred them on to see who could finish first. As a result the huge fortress was completed in only four months. The fortress's three main towers were named after the generals who built them: Sadrazam Çandarli Halil Pasha built

the big tower next to the main gate, Zaganos Pasha built the south tower, and Sarici Pasha built the north tower. Mehmet's armies conquered Constantinople several months after the fortress's completion.

After the fall of Constantinople, Rumeli Hisari became a customs checkpoint. However, when fortresses were built at Rumeli Kavagi and Anadoglu Kavagi further up the Bosphorus and closer to the Black Sea, Rumeli Hisari lost that role. In the seventeenth century, it was used as a prison for foreign prisoners of war. Since 1960 Rumeli Hisari has been a museum.

Rumeli Hisari has three main towers, thirteen small watch towers and three main gates next to the bigger towers. Inside the fortress there used to be wooden houses for Mehmet's soldiers and a small mosque. Only the minaret of the mosque remains. The fortress's water supply came from a large cistern underneath the mosque.

Visitors to the fortress can climb up onto the fortresses walls. Be careful however, unless things have improved a great deal since I was there, safety standards in old Turkish buildings are minimal with no protective rails in sight.
Rumeli Hisari
Rumeli Hisari
Me in Rumeli Hisari
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Pali Pali
7 reviews
Away from the City Rush Dec 01, 2013
The Rumeli Fortress is a half an hour bus ride from the city center. You can catch a bus from the station across the kapatase Tramway. Avoid Rush-hours since the bus ride would be much longer and very uncomfortable try to go at a time were most locals would be at work so definitely not the weekend.

The fortress itself is more of a park , it is a nice place to go have a cup of tea and enjoy the view. There are a few towers that you can climb towards (the tower gates are closed so you cannot go inside) but you have to be careful as the stairs are not guarded in anyway and you could easily fall if you are not careful. If you are going to attempt the climb make sure you have on a decent pair of shoes with a good grip. This is not advisable for kids or elderly.

In addition to enjoying the park and the great views , you can also enjoy a walk along the waterside. This is a nice part of the city and i think it reflects the quiet and peaceful side of Istanbul.

So have your lunch in the city and come enjoy a nice cup of tea in the park and a quiet stroll along the sea side :).
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CathAK CathAK
2 reviews
Neat escape from the city Apr 14, 2011
The Rumeli Hisari fortress was a great place to escape to in the big city of Istanbul. It's fairly easy to get to (take the Rumeli Hisari bus from Taksim Square - 559c) and just 3 Turkish lira to get inside. It's basically a big fortress that you can walk around, I didn't see guides or a museum or anything, but it's a really cool example of medieval architecture. You can walk along the walls and see the Bosphorus, as well as the Asian side of Istanbul. It's a really neat place to go!
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Paulianthomas Pauliant…
30 reviews
Impressive Ottoman Castle Jan 11, 2010
The Fortress of Asia (Anadolu Hisari) was built on the narrowest point of the Bosphorus. Opposite this small fort, the massive Fortress of Europe (Rumaili Hisari) was constructed. Sultan Mehmet II built the fortress in just four months, as a prelude to his siege of Constantinople. It’s massive cannon caused all European shipping movements to be blockaded, which allowed his armies to move safely between his dominions. Emperor Constantine XI, of the Byzantine Empire, alarmed by this unauthorised building on his lands, pleaded with Christendom to support him in the inevitable siege.

While the best view of Rumeli Hisari is from a ferry on the Bosphorus, visiting the castle is definitely worth a trip.


Rumeli Hisari (Fortress of the Romans - ie Europe) is easy to reach, cheap to enter and offers great views of the area. Walking along the walls is not for the faint hearted, as many tall drops remain unfenced.

To get to Rumeli Hisari, take a ferry boat from Eminonu Terminal to Emirgan, the first stop after passing the castle on the European side. Cheap buses run frequently down the coast road leading to the castle or back to Istanbul. Morning is the best time to visit the castle, as the eastern sun illuminates its walls.
Fortress of Europe as seen when cr…
Fortress of Asia, located opposite…
View from the top of the battlemen…
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el_wray says:
I don't recommend to go Rumeli Hisarı by bus during summertime because of the traffic density in the road. During winter, fall and spring it's OK though :) Buses are cheap, less than 1 EU.

Boat is the best way to reach this location, and in a shiny day, you'll enjoy the beauty of the amazing Bosphorus =)
Posted on: Jan 11, 2010
Seyyah Seyyah
11 reviews
Fortress of Europe (Rumeli Hisari) May 09, 2010
Last weekend on sunday. I want to do something and i decied. i went to rumeli hisari museum. Its to easy go to there by bus. You will pay 3 TL for enterance about 2 $. Very nice wiew of istanbul.
Rumeli Hisari
Rumeli Hisari
Rumeli Hisari
Rumeli Hisari
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