Sunday, March 2, 2014

100. Rumelihisari

Here is my 100th blog post ... 

... and before I go ahead with the post, I thought I would give you a few background details ...

My first post was from New York on 19th August last year - six and a half months ago ... and in that time I have had 6721 viewings of the blogs - that averages out at over 67 hits per blog !!!!

The bulk of those viewings are directed from my Facebook page ( where I have 4094 "friends" !!! ... ) ... Australians lead the viewers, then USA, France, Turkey and Sweden ...

Each posting takes me about 3 to 4 hours to put together and publish online - after visiting a site I usually come home with anything up to 200 photographs - the best then have to be sorted and processed - cropped, colour adjusted etc, pixel size adjusted so that all photos are the same size and then they are labelled and filed ... next comes a bit of research on the site I am featuring and data gathered needs to be worded to suit my blog audience ... and finally data and photos uploaded to the blog site - and when all is looking good I hit the publish button and it all goes out into the wide blue yonder ... so as you can see, quite a lot of work involved ...

I source my data from museum etc websites plus Google and Wikipedia, and I photograph titles of artworks along with the actual pieces when visiting venues so I have a good record ( usually ... ) of each item posted.

A few people ask me what kind of camera I use ...

For most outdoor shots I use a Canon - Power Shot S2 IS camera ... and for indoor shots I use my Samsung Galaxy S4 smart phone ...



And that's it in a nutshell ... I really enjoy the process and the end result and find blogging gives added purpose to my museum visits ... and of course I do get a buzz out of sharing this wonderful adventure I am on with you - and always love hearing back from you ... 

The final action is having my blog printed in hard-cover book form - with Blurb Books - one book for each city I visit - so that in years to come when my mind has faded and I am sitting in the old people's home slowly going crazy with boredom and senility, I'll have some great memories to keep me company ...

Now on with number one hundred ...
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Rumelihisarı ( also known as the Rumelian Fortress )

This is a fortress located on a hill at the European side of the Bosphorus that I "stumbled" on during one of my long walks around the city. Built by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1452 - before he conquered Constantinople - Rumelihisarı is situated at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus Strait with 660 meters from bank to bank, and was built by the Sultan in order to control the sea traffic along the strait and prevent aid from the Black Sea reaching Constantinople during the Turkish siege of the city in 1453.

Image taken from the Rumelihsari web site ... 
just to give you an idea of the size of the fortress from the Bosphorus ...




In a previous Ottoman attempt to conquer the city, Sultan Murad II (1404–1451) had encountered difficulties due to a blockade of the Bosphorus by the Byzantine fleet, so the necessity of a fortress was thus well known to the Ottomans. 


In preparation for the conquest of Constantinople, his son Sultan Mehmed II (1432–1481), started to realize the construction of the fortress immediately following his second ascent to the throne in 1451. He refused the plea for peace of the Byzantine Emperor Contantine XI (1404–1453), who understood the intention of the Sultan. 




The construction began on 15 April 1452 and with the use of thousands of masons and workers, the fortress was completed in a record time of 4 months and 16 days on 31 August 1452.  Wanting to keep the builders dedicated, the Sultan ordered them to build the castle in the shape of the name of Muhammad the Muslim prophet, which can be seen from above. Muhammad and Mehmed share the same Arabic spelling (محمد), and so he more than likely made the shape of the fortress as a homage to himself. 


The Bosphorus Stait - with the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge
and vessel heading up towards the Black Sea ... 

vertigo nightmare ...

The fortification has one small tower, three main towers, and thirteen small watchtowers placed on the walls connecting the main towers. The main tower in the north, the Saruca Pasha Tower, is in cylindrical form with its 9 stories and height of 28 m, it has a diameter of 23.30m and its walls are 7m thick. Its total area is 31,250 m2. 


The space within each tower was divided up with wooden floors and conical wooden roofs covered with lead crowned the towers. The fortress had three main gates next to the main towers, one side gate and two secret gates for the arsenal and food cellars next to the southern tower. There were wooden houses for the soldiers and a small mosque, endowed by the Sultan at the time of construction. Water was supplied to the fortress from a large cistern underneath the mosque and distributed through three wall-fountains, of which only one has remained.

On the location of Rumelihisarı, there had been a Roman fortification in the past - which was later used as a prison by the Byzantines - so the Fortress was named as Rumelihisarı, which means "Fortress on the Land of the Romans", 


A battalion of 400 Janissaries were stationed in the fortress, and large cannons were placed in the main tower on the waterfront. These cannons were later used until the second half of the 19th century to greet the sultan when he passed by sea. 

A Venetian ship coming from the Black Sea which ignored the order to halt by the commander of the fortress, was bombarded and sunk, and its surviving crewmen were beheaded as a warning to any who might attempt the same. 


After the fall of Constantinople, the fortress served as a customs checkpoint. Rumelihisarı, which was designated to control the passage of ships through the strait, eventually lost its strategic importance when a second pair of fortresses was built further up the Bosphorus, where the strait meets the Black Sea. Since 1960 Rumelihisarı has been a museum and an open-air theater for various concerts at festivals during the summer months.

The last surviving ferocious Ottoman at the Fortress ...


I'm sure the Sultan did not order the the planting of Pansies along the outer wall ...