Anadolu Hisari - History and Facts | History Hit

Anadolu Hisari

Marmara Region, Marmara Region, Turkey

Anadolu Hisari was built by the Ottoman Sultan Beyazid I in 1395.

Peta Stamper

26 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Anadolu Hisari

Anadolu Hisari (Anadoluhisari), translated as the Anatolian Castle, is a medieval fortress in Turkey built by the great grandfather of Mehmet the Conqueror, Sultan Beyazid I. Anadolu Hisari is not open to the public, however, the 15th century Rumeli Fortress is.

Anadolu Hisari history

Known historically as Guzelce Hisar, ‘the Beauteous Castle’, Anadolu Hisari was built between 1393 and 1394 on the commission of Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I as part of his preparation to siege the then-Byzantine city of Constantinople. The fortress was constructed over 7,000 square metres at the narrowest point of the Bosphurus, controlling passage along the river.

Constantinople was blockaded from 1394, but Bayezid’s campaign was interrupted by the Crusade of Nicopolis (a European alliance against the Ottomans) and ended with his defeat at the Battle of Ankara by the Emir of Timurid. The defeat led to an eleven-year civil war, also known as the Ottoman Interregnum, ending when Mehmed I became Ottoman sultan in 1413.

It was Mehmed II, his grandson, who reinforced Anadolu Hisari with a two-metre-thick wall and three watch towers, among further extensions that included a warehouse and living quarters. This second fortification was part of a renewed plan to conquer Constantinople, and Mehmed built a sister fort across the Bosphorus river called Rumelihisari, the two working together in 1453 to control traffic into Constantinople.

Ultimately, it was this strategy that helped the Ottomans to make Constantinople their new imperial capital, Istanbul.

After the Ottomans captured Constantinople, Anadolu Hisari became a customs house and military prison but after a few centuries fell into disrepair. When the Ottomans fell and the Republic of Turkey was established, the site passed to the state who restored Anadolu Hisari in the 1990s.

Anadolu Hisari today

Today, Anadolu Hisari provides an integral part of the historic picture of Ottoman superiority over the Bosphurus, among timber seashore homes that define the contemporary landscape. The fortress is a historical site but is unfortunately not accessible to the public. However, you can still gain a real sense of the fortress’ dominance over the surrounding area when viewing from the local quay.

Getting to Anadolu Hisari

You can reach Anadolu Hisari by public transport from Metro stops Boğaziçi Üniversitesi or Nispetiye, both a 20 minute walk away. If renting a car, there is a large car park across Göksu Creek on MÜ Anadoluhisarı Kampüsü.