About Yedikule Zindanlari
Yedikule Zindanlari, also known as the Yedikule Fortress or the Castle of the Seven Towers, is an impressive Byzantine and medieval fort. As well as an historic landmark and one of the few monuments that combines Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman heritage, it is regarded as the most dreadful dungeon in the history of Istanbul.
History of Yedikule Zindanlari
Originally part of the Theodosian Wall (featuring Theodosius the Great’s triumphal arch) built by Theodosius II in the 5th century, Yedikule Fortress was added to over the centuries, including by Mehmet the Conqueror during the Ottoman period. The Ottomans used Yedikule Zindanlari as a stronghold, a prison and the home of a formidable royal dungeon (‘zindanlari’) that housed many notable figures, and a treasury. In 1622, Yedikule Zindanlari became the site of the execution of the 17 year old Sultan Osman II.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the fortress was the prison of many French prisoners. In the 19th century a mescit (small mosque) and 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 later torn down and a girls’ school built in their place. The whole facility was turned over to become a museum in 1895.
Yedikule Zindanlari today
Today, this imposing fort is open to the public in the summer season, although not ideal for children due to a lack of safety features. As implied in the name, visitors to Yedikule Zindanlari can see its dungeons as well as walking along its well-preserved walls and battlements.
An open-air theater has been built in more recent years, and is used for cultural festivals.
Getting to Yedikule Zindanlari
Yedikule Zindanlari is located in Istanbul. Visitors can directly reach the fort from Taksim by bus 80T, from Eminönü by bus 80 and with Marmaray metro line (Kazlıçesme stop).
5 Breathtaking Byzantine Sites to Visit in Istanbul
Discover the rich cultural and architectural heritage of the Byzantine Empire in these 5 dazzling sites across Istanbul, Byzantium's former capital.