postcard #9. Fortress Europe (part 1)

Dungeons of the Seven Towers (Yedikule), Istanbul
December 2014


Built in 1458 by adding 3 towers to 4 existing ones, Yedikule Fortress held prisoners until the mid-19th century. Today it is a UNESCO world heritage site and costs about 10 TL to visit and is also used for concerts. Most of the reviews on trip advisor seemed taken up with the fact there were very few other tourists there and (for one reviewer who found the mosques and palaces just so) that it felt like being in a computer game…


It was shut when we visited. This might have stopped us appreciating the views from the top of the ramparts or feeling like we were in Prince of Persia but walking around the outside provided a sense of the austere and foreboding nature of a fortress and a stark reminder of the violent histories and impenetrability of forts and dungeons. Moreover, the barbed wire and guard dogs peppered around the residential dwellings in the immediate vicinity were more evocative of contemporary borders and communities found in these borders.

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