In the Asian part of Istanbul, not far from the Bosphorus Strait, lie the ruins of the ancient Yoros Castle. In our time, the remnants of this historic structure have turned into a popular tourist attraction. Castle visitors can stroll through its grounds, enjoy views of the Bosphorus, or have a snack in a cafe nestled amidst lush greenery.
A bit of history
The exact date of the construction of Yoros Castle is unknown. It is presumed to have been built during the rule of the Palaiologos family in Byzantium. Remnants from this period have survived in the fortress to this day. According to information from guidebooks, images of the cross with the dynasty's motto can be found within the complex. Archaeological excavations have been conducted here since 2010.
Yoros Castle, along with the fortress of Rumeli located on the opposite shore, was intended to control the passage of ships through the Bosphorus Strait. After the conquest of Constantinople, the defensive structure gradually fell into disrepair, although it is known that even in the late 18th century, there was a settlement with 25 houses here. In the past, all the fortress buildings occupied an area twice the size of its present dimensions, and Yoros was considered the largest castle along the Bosphorus. Today, it stretches along the strait for 500 meters, and the width of the fortress ranges from 60 to 130 meters.
It is believed that the name Yoros Castle originated from one of two Greek words. The first translates as 'mountain,' and the second as 'favorable wind.' Another name for the attraction is the Genoese Fortress.
For tourists, a large open area in the southern part of the complex is accessible, and guests can also peek inside a couple of its rooms, although they are currently empty. Some visitors climb to the roof of the building, but it's challenging for me to say how safe that is.
You can reach here by car, bus, or ferry. Entrance to the fortress is free. After a walk around the castle, tourists can descend to the nearby fishing village of Anadolu Kavağı and take a stroll through it. Mention of this settlement is found in many Istanbul guidebooks. We were here in winter, and there were hardly any tourists in the village. Probably because of this, prices in local restaurants and cafes were several times higher than the city average.
Yoros Castle is by no means the only ancient fortress preserved in Istanbul. Enthusiasts of such landmarks, for example, can take a walk around the Yedikule Fortress.
Have a nice trip!