Walking the Walls of Constantinople

The ancient walls of Constantinople
David and I joined a tour for "A walk along the Land Walls of Constantinople - from the Marmara Sea to the Golden Horn", organised by the Friends of ARIT (the American Research Institute in Turkey). Even though rain was promised, the day was glorious, the rain only arriving at the end of the day as we were going home.

The siege of Constantinople in 1453

Our tour began at the Panorama museum in the Topkapi Culture Park. This museum is dedicated to the fall of Constantinople, when Fatih Sultan Mehmed II laid seige to the city in 1453. It is called the Panorama museum because in the domed roof, there is a 360 degree painting, depicting the breaching of the walls of Contantinople. While circling around the dome, looking at the paintings, there is the constant sound of battle. It is an amazing experience!

The original wall was guarded by 96 towers.

From there, we went to walk along the very same walls, much of them still standing as they were left after the seige, while others have been renovated to show how they originally looked. The walls run for six-and-a-half kilometres from the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn, along the coast. This stretch was the focus of our walk.

The moat is being used for urban gardens, producing vegetables

The building of the walls began in the 5th century, with a deep moat surrounding them, and provided a formidable fortification for the city's protection. They held fast for hundreds of years until the invention of gunpowder, and cannons that could fire huge cannon balls.

We even found some old cannon balls!

We stopped off at this pigeon market along the way

Apparently, pigeon fancying is huge in Turkey

This was the site of the last Byzantine palace

The waterfountain of the sacred spring

We visited the Church of St Mary of Blachernae, which is famous for its sacred spring, and a major Marian shrine in the city. The present church was built in 1867, on the site of the original one, built in 450, and destroyed by fire in 1434.

The Golden Horn Walls

Houses due for demolition

A huge amount of development is going on in Istanbul, and there are many areas selected for renewal. This settlement next to the walls is due for demolition, to make way for more modern housing. We were standing on the walls when I took this photo.

Cock-a doodle-doo!

There were chickens running about under the ancient walls. I managed to catch this cock just as he was crowing. It was obviously time to go home! What a rich history this city has. We are so privileged to be living here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to have your thoughts on any aspect of my blog.

Press Centre

Press Centre
I couldn't resist this one!