The impressive Yedikule Fortress has been a witness to many historical events and political disturbances throughout the years.


Built on the coast road leading from Sarayburnu to Bakırkoy, this grand structure served as the entrance gate to the city of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) for Byzantine Emperors.

The glorious entryway, known as the Golden Door, was first established by Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I as a triumphal arch in 412. During the reign of Theodosius II, two towers were added on either side of the door and it was incorporated into the city walls. Later, in the period of Byzantine Emperor Kantakuzen IV, two additional towers were added next to the existing towers.

At one time, the Golden Door was the main entrance to the city’s biggest street, and it was not only used to welcome victorious Emperors but also to greet esteemed citizens, much like a red carpet welcoming Hollywood stars.

Due to its ornate decorations of golden gilts and silver leafs, the famous door was also known as the Gilded Door in addition to the Golden Door.

In addition to the Golden Door, another smaller golden door was erected between the ditch and walls to provide additional defense against attacks. This door was adorned with sculptures of the Goddess of Victory and the Byzantine Eagle, however, they are no longer in existence.

After the conquest of Istanbul, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, the Conqueror, converted the city walls with four towers into a closed fortress by adding three additional towers. From then on, it was known as the Yedikule Fortress (Fortress of the Seven Towers), a fusion of Ottoman and Byzantine architecture. Today, it serves as an admirable museum.

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In addition to its rich history, the Yedikule Fortress has many fascinating features and interesting events.

Firstly, during the Ottoman period, the structure was used as a Treasure Building. Resembling a pentagram shape, the fortress was where the first Ottoman State Treasury (Hazine-i Humayun) and the booties were kept between 1458 and 1789.

Secondly, it was also used as a prison where many famous individuals, such as Çandarlı Halil Pasha, Grand Vizier Ferhat Pasha, Mahmut Pasha, Krym Khan Mehmet Giray, Georgian King Simon, Trebizon-Rum Emperor Comnenos, Maltha Knights and Ottoman Sultan Young Osman, were imprisoned, tortured, and executed.

Thirdly, the fortress was damaged during the Great Istanbul Earthquake during the reign of Sultan Mahmut II, but it was later renovated. Furthermore, Sultan Abdulaziz established a girls’ school of art where 400 girls were educated for 4 years. During the reign of Sultan Abdulmecit, the fortress was used as a zoo.

Fourthly, in 1883, the fortress was given to Mersul Baba, one of the Bektashi Dervishes, to establish a vegetable garden. After several years, the fortress was protected by the gardener Cemil Bey.

Lastly, in 1895, the fortress was placed under the control of the Museums General Directorate and has been a part of the Fortress Museum Directorate since 1968.


The room was filled with a massive boiler filled with nails, used to torture those deemed guilty. People were executed in this terrifying caldron, and it became known as the Torture Chamber.


This well dates back to the Byzantine Era. Criminals who were executed had their severed heads thrown into the well, resulting in a gruesome sight. As such, the well earned its name due to the bloody scene it created.


Due to the fact that Ottoman Sultan Osman II, also known as Young Osman, was brutally killed in this area, the tower became known as the Young Osman Tower. Additionally, many criminals were executed in this vicinity.

When you enter the Young Osman II Tower, you can see many torture instruments, a wheel, and a stake, which symbolize death and torture. The walls of this section are especially fascinating, as they are covered with names in Ottoman Turkish, carved with the prisoners’ bloody nails.


The Arsenal Tower is situated to the north of the Golden Door, opposite Young Osman II Tower. Originally used as an armory, it was also used as a dungeon during the Ottoman and Byzantine periods.


Ahmet Tower, formerly known as the Pastroma Tower in Byzantine times, was reconstructed in an octagonal shape by Ottoman Sultan Ahmet III in the 18th century after it had been destroyed in an earthquake. It was named after the Sultan, thus becoming popularly known as Ahmet Tower.


After the conquest of Istanbul, the first treasure chamber of the Ottoman Empire was established in this section. It housed all the gold, silver, jewelry, and other precious items.


This tower was used as a prison for the noble people; kings, princes, and viziers were all kept here.


The watch tower, located closest to the Marmara Sea, was built to protect the city from any attacks from the sea.


Visiting Yedikule Hisari is not only a great way to learn about the history of Istanbul and the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, but it is also a great way to experience the beauty of this ornate structure and marvel at its impressive architecture.

Tour Maker Turkey offers private and group tours to Yedikule Hisari, where you can explore the fascinating history, architecture, and culture of Istanbul. Join us on a tour today and experience the grandeur of Yedikule Hisari for yourself.