In the North end of Istanbul, near a village near the Bosporus’s Black Sea end named “Rumeli Feneri”, there’s a Medieval Genoese castle.

Rumeli Feneri literally means “Greek land Lighthouse” in the Turkish language. The village is named after a historical lighthouse still in use which is located on the European side of Bosphorus’ Black Sea entrance in Istanbul, Turkey. Rumeli (or Rumelia) is the former name for the Turkish lands in Europe. The lighthouse was built by the French in order to provide safe navigation for the French and British warships entering the Istanbul Strait from the Black Sea during the Crimean War (1853–1856).

The Genoese castle in Rumeli Feneri, Istanbul
The Genoese castle in Rumeli Feneri, Istanbul

Rumeli Feneri was a Greek village until the exchanges of populations between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s. Even during Turkey’s War of Independence, most of the people living in this village were ethnic Greeks, but today most of the 2,000 or so residents come from the Black Sea provinces of Trabzon and Rize. It is also very, very badly modernized today.

The Rumeli Feneri castle is built by the Genoese, but during the Ottoman period, the original medieval fortification was totally redesigned to place many cannon there. Because for many centuries the Black Sea was an Ottoman lake, the change must have occurred in the late 18th century or even later.

The Genoese castle in Rumeli Feneri, Istanbul
The Genoese castle in Rumeli Feneri, Istanbul. Arch for cannons.
The Genoese castle in Rumeli Feneri, Istanbul
The Genoese castle in Rumeli Feneri, Istanbul. The original medieval fortification was totally redesigned to place many cannons there.
The Genoese castle in Rumeli Feneri, Istanbul
The main gate of the castle.

2 replies on “The North end of Istanbul – Rumeli Feneri Castle”

  1. Sad to say that it’s not a castle anymore. Lack of maintenance, security and protection (from visitors) left it ruined completely. It’s another proof that we have so-called full respect of our history.

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