Rumeli Castle (Rumeli Hisarı) is an Ottoman fortress dating to 1452. It was built by Ottoman sultan Mehmed II (Mehmed the Conqueror) in preparation of the conquest of Constantinople. The castle is situated on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait at its narrowest point with approximately 660 meters. It is just opposite of Anadolu Castle (Anadolu Hisarı) that is another Ottoman castle built in 1394 by Bayezid I. Both Anadolu Castle and Rumeli Castle were built by Ottoman sultans in order to prevent military and economic aid to the Byzantine Empire coming from the north, Black Sea. Thus, Bosphorus strait connects Black Sea with Marmara Sea.
Rumeli Castle consists of three large towers, one small tower, and thirteen smaller towers, which all are in very good condition. The architect of the castle was architect Müslihiddin and by the time it was built, its name was Boğazkesen (Strait Cutter).
After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the castle lost its military importance and served as a customs checkpoint until the seventeenth century and then as a prison until the nineteenth century. In the nineteenth century a neighborhood was formed inside the castle with its houses, mosque, shops, and so on. However, this neighborhood was destroyed in 1950s. Since 1960 the Rumeli Castle functions as a museum and this magnificent castle is open to the public as an open-air museum.
From above the Rumeli Castle is in the shape of the name of Prophet Muhammad, which shares same spelling with Mehmed (Ottoman sultan commissioned the castle) in Arabic. Click this link to watch an aerial video of the Rumeli Castle
It took only four months to build this enormous castle that is standing for more than five centuries.
Located on the European shore of the Bosphorus, the castle is close to a number of monuments and neighborhoods including Aşiyan Museum, Bebek, and Arnavutköy neighborhoods. Next to the castle -on the shore of the Bosphorus- there are also several nice restaurants that serve the best traditional Turkish breakfast such as Kale Restaurant and Lokma Cafe.
The Rumeli Castle is open everyday except Wednesdays between 9 am and 5 pm Entrance to the Rumeli Castle is 18 Turkish Liras.
Make sure to have your camera with you, the Rumeli Castle offers magnificent views of Istanbul and the Bosphorus strait.