The Museum of Fortresses displays artifacts from the Rumeli, Yedikule, and Anadolu Fortresses (Hisarlar). The Rumeli Fortress Museum is the most impressive of them all. named after the 30-acre Bogazkesen (Throat-Cutter Castle) Hisar, also known as Rumelihisar, in the city of Sariyer. Rumeli (Diyar-i Rum) Hisar, which translates to “Fortress on the Land of the Romans,” is the name given to the nations that made up the former Ottoman Empire on the Balkan Peninsula. Before conquering Istanbul, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror built it in 1452 to control the passing ships in the Bosphorus, establish a military-financial control point and set up a strong defense system to fend off attacks from the north of the Bosphorus. During this time, the fortress reportedly employed 300 masters, 700–800 workers, and 200 coachmen, boatmen, and transporters, according to some historical sources. Muslihiddin Aga, Mehmed II’s chief architect, was the one who built the fortress.
After the construction of the fortress was complete, Firuz Bey was given command of the small garrison. In front of the fort, he was given command of the ships that crossed the Bosphorus. To make sure that the ships paid their due taxes, cannons were frequently placed in the front garden (Hisar peçe) by the water. In 1452, some ships managed to pass through despite the cannons. The Bosphorus Strait was, however, effectively closed to naval traffic in 1453.
After conquering Istanbul, the Rumeli Fortress was turned into an imperial prison and customs checkpoint because it was no longer required for military purposes. Inside the fortress, a neighborhood of houses grew over time. The fortress sustained significant damage as a result of an earthquake in 1509 and a fire in the middle of the 18th century. The Ottoman era (1789–1807) structures underwent their final restorations during the rule of Selim III. The towers at the Rumeli Fortress Museum are among the biggest fortification structures still standing in the entire world. It is directly across from the Anadolu Fortress, which Sultan I. Beyazt built in 1394 at the Bosphorus’s narrowest point. It served as a test site for cutting-edge cannon technology. The Royal Armouries Museum in Fort Nelson, which is close to the city of Portsmouth, has a cannon similar to this one on display. Sultan Abdulaziz gave the 17-ton cannon to the Queen in 1868 as a gift. The muzzle has the Turkish phrase “Help O God” carved into it. Muhammad Khan, Murad’s son, was proclaimed sultan. Munir Ali created this work in the Islamic calendar month of Rajab. In addition to the vent, loading instructions are engraved close by in the year 868 (868 = 1464 A.D.), during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II of Turkey (1430–1481). The gun, despite its age, damaged six of Sir John Duckworth’s ships when he tried to force the Dardanelles Straight in 1807.
Rumeli Fortress has gone by many names since it was first built, including Kal’a-i Cedid, Kulle-i Cedide, Yenicehisar, Yenihisar, Bogazkesen Kalesi, Bogazkesen Hisar, Nikhisar (Guzelhisar), and Baskesen Hisar. The stones came from all over Anatolia, the timber was shipped in from Izmit and Karadeniz, and the supplies (repurposed stone pieces) were taken from nearby Byzantine ruins. On President Celal Bayar’s orders in 1953, three Turkish women architects—Cahide Tamer, Selma Emler, and Mualla Anhegger-Eyüboglu—restored the structure to its former splendor. It was then opened to the public in 1968 under the supervision of the Hisarlar Museum Directorate. The area’s wooden homes were demolished and rebuilt after the walls, bastions, and battlements were destroyed. Although this was not historically accurate, the fortress mosque (which was destroyed in the 18th century) was converted into a stage, and the audience was given a place to sit by staggering the slope across from it. Even as recently as 2008, musical performances took place in the newly added open theater structure. These groups eventually split up for fear of destroying the cistern’s historic structure. This 15.65-meter-diameter circular cistern served as the Fortress Masjid (Ebu’l Feth Mosque/Bogazkesen Mosque Foundation). Fatih Sultan Mehmed turned the Byzantine-era cistern into a fortress mosque. The cistern’s stone and brick construction used Khorasan mortar, which also served as a water storage tank.
The Masjid fortress has a square design. The building has a wooden roof with a hipped design. To the west is the building’s spherical minaret. Next to this one, there is a collapsed minaret from the original building. The first mosque ever built in Istanbul was used for worship and prayer by Mehmed II., his soldiers, instructors, and viziers. The Masjid’s minaret was rebuilt in the manner of mosques from the Fatih Period and reopened for worship in August 2015 after being salvaged down to its pedestal.
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