When you walk along the Walls of Constantinople, which were built under Emperor Theodosius II, you will come across the Yedikule Fortress.
The “Fortress of the Seven Towers” is an important part of the largest fortification of late antiquity and is located at the point where land wall and seawall join.
The fortress lies in front of the “Porta Aurea”(the Golden Gate), once the most magnificent entrance to the Byzantine capital and a Roman triumphal arch, which was often the scene of glorious entries by Byzantine emperors. It had three gold-plated gates, of which the middle one was larger than the two side gates, which can still be seen today despite the walling.
The Byzantine complex was an important site especially for the Ottomans, who expanded Yedikule after the conquest of Istanbul. It served them as a treasury, dungeon and place of execution at the same time. The most famous prisoner of Yedikule was the young Sultan Osman II, who was strangled on 20 May 1622 in one of the towers.
The seven towers of the Yedikule complex are connected by thick walls, which have a pentagonal plan and enclose a large courtyard. Here you can find a mix of Byzantine and Ottoman elements. In the middle of the courtyard are the remains of the small mosque, which was preserved until 1905.
The garrison of the fortress once housed guards and their helpers, officers and soldiers. Yedikule also provided quarters for the units, of which no traces are left.
The Yedikule Fortress has been renovated several times and currently serves as a museum. Today, works from the Ottoman period are exhibited in the garden, including stone cannonballs, marble capitals, column parts and pottery.