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Seven Towers Castle

The first monument which we encounter on a tour of the land walls is Yedikule, the Seven Towers Castle, about half a kilometer inland from the Marmara. Yedikule is a curious structure, partly Byzantine and partly Turkish. The seven eponymous towers consist of four in the inner Theodosian wall itself, plus three additional towers built inside the walls by Mehmet the Conqueror. Seven Towers Castle - Istanbul
Seven Towers Castle - Istanbul The three inner towers are connected together and joined to the Theodosian wall by four heavy curtain walls, forming a five-sided enclosure. The two central towers in the Theodosian wall are marble pylons flanking the famous Golden Gate of Byzantium. The structure was never used as a castle in the usual sense, but two of the towers were used in Ottoman times as prisons; the others were used as storage places for part of the State treasure.
The pylon to the left of the Golden Gate was also used as a place of execution; Sultan Osman II was strangled to death there on 22 May 1622. The much-celebrated Golden Gate between the pylons was originally a Roman triumphal arch erected in about 390 by Theodosius I the Great. At that time the present city walls had not yet been built and the triumphal arch, as was customary, stood by itself on the Via Egnatia, about a mile outside the walls of Constantine. Seven Towers Castle - Istanbul
Seven Towers Castle - Istanbul   The arch was of the usual Roman type with a triple arcade containing a large central archway flanked by two smaller ones. The outlines of the arches can still be clearly seen although the openings were bricked up in later Byzantine times. When Theodosius II decided to extend the city decades later, he incorporated the Golden Gate within his new land walls, and also built the small marble gate outside the triumphal arch for defense.


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