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Yedikule Fortress
Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey
Type Castle
Coordinates Latitude: 41.01224
Longitude: 28.976018
Built 1458

Yedikule Fortress (Turkish Yedikule Hisarı, in Greek Ἑπταπύργιον, Heptapyrgion; meaning Fortress of the Seven Towers) is located in the Yedikule neighbourhood of Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey. It was built in 1458 by adding three new towers to a section of the Walls of Constantinople which included the Golden Gate.


After the final capture of Constantinople in 1453, Sultan Mehmed II built a new fort in 1458.[1] By adding three larger towers to the four pre-existing ones (towers 8 to 11) on the inner Theodosian wall, he formed the Fortress of Seven Towers.

The Golden Gate lost its function as a gate, and for much of the Ottoman era, it was used as a treasury, archive and state prison.[1] Among others, the ambassadors of states currently at war with the Porte were usually imprisoned there. Among its most notable prisoners was the young Sultan Osman II, who was imprisoned and executed there by the Janissaries in 1622. The last Emperor of Trebizond, David Megas Komnenos, Constantin Brâncoveanu of Wallachia with his family, King Simon I of Georgia and a number of leading Ottoman pashas were also among those executed there.[1]

During the Napoleonic Wars, the fortress was the prison of many French prisoners, including the writer and diplomat Francois Pouqueville, who was detained there for more than two years (1799 to 1801) and who gave an extensive description of the fortress in his Voyage en Morée, à Constantinople, en Albanie, et dans plusieurs autres parties de l'Empire Othoman, pendant les années 1798, 1799, 1800 et 1801. The last prisoner was held in the Yedikule as late as 1837.[1] Except for the initial 11 and last 4 sentences, all of the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature winner Ivo Andrić's novel Prokleta avlija (translated into English as Accursed and/or Damned Yard) happens in Yedikule Prison (link on the Andrić Foundation site).

A masjid (small mosque) and a fountain were built in the middle of the fort's inner courtyard, which also contained the houses of the garrison, forming a separate city quarter. The houses were torn down in the 19th century, and a girls' school was built in their place.[2] The outer gate was re-opened in 1838, and the fort's towers functioned as gunpowder magazines for a while thereafter, until the whole facility was turned over to become a museum in 1895.[1]

An open-air theater has been built in more recent years, and is used for cultural festivals. Like its namesake in Jerusalem, the way to the Golden Gate is now obstructed by a Muslim cemetery.


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