Yedikule Fortress , Istanbul Overview

Also called Fortress of the Seven Towers and the Dungeons of the Seven Towers, Yedikule Fortress is one of the oldest forts of Istanbul. Located 3 miles south-west from Sultanahmet, it is quite popular among tourists for its dreadful history and fantastic views.

Initially, the walls and four towers were created by Theodosius I and Theodosius II respectively during the Byzantine reign as the Golden Gate. The other three towers of the monument were built in the 15th century when Mehmet took over the empire of Constantinople. The seven towers were erected to serve as the place for treasury and archive, with the Sultan spending most of his time here. Several valuable goods of monetary importance were stored here such as golden and silver coins, preserved documents, military arms and other precious objects. The tall towers and the high gates and walls were created so as to avoid any attacks or theft. 

However, in the 16th century, the function of the treasury was passed on to the Topkapi Palace and the Yedikule fortress then served as a prison for acclaimed convicts. 

Several schools and quarters were built after it stopped functioning as a prison however destroyed over the course of time. An open-air theatre was built to attract cultural activities and performances.

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Tips

  1. Wear comfortable shoes as you would have to walk a lot inside the fort. 
  2. Hire a tour guide, or download a tour audio to get to know about the history better.
  3. It gets very hot during the day time, so get your summer accessories.

How to Reach

Nearest train station: Yedikule

Bus from Eminou to Yedikule: 80 or 81The fort is open for visits from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM on all days except Wednesdays. A tour around the fort will take you at least 2 hours. The main fort might be closed due to maintenance, but the grounds and gardens are open to the public at any time.

Famous Prisoners at the Yedikule Fortress

Prisoners of war and enemies of the court were jailed here under high-security arrangements. The monument also served as a place of execution of many famous warriors and rulers. Some of them are -

  • David Megas Komnenos (1463)
  • Andrea Gritti (1502)
  • King Simon I (1611)
  • Constantin Brancoveanu and his family (1714)
  • Sultan Osman II (1622)
  • Balint Torok
  • Samuel Korecki (1622)
  • François Pouqueville (1801)

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