At the City Walls of Yedikule

As can be understood from the name (Yedikule translates as the "seven towers”), Yedikule was named after the seven towers lined up along the city walls. Upon the city walls, these towers resemble seven pieces of pearl on the necklace of a beautiful woman. Because the number was only five before the conquest of İstanbul, the Byzantine called it "pentapyrgion” meaning the "five towers”.

Avedis Arzuman

The number of towers increased to four upon the addition of two more upon order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet and so the name of the district was converted to Yedikule. The section which starts from Samatya, leads to İmrahor İlyas Bey Avenue which divides the district into two right in the middle and the gate of Yedikule city walls.

The discrit of Yedikule

The other section that starts from Silivrikapı expands over to the shore. At the left and right of İmrahor İlyas Bey Avenue, which is very long, are two- and three-floor old houses which give the district a historical touch. There is Yunus Emre Primary School at the starting point of the avenue located right at the entrance to Yedikule from Samatya. A few meters further are the famous triple houses which all bear the same interior and exterior architectural characteristics. These houses are an indication that my trip to Yedikule will be a historical one.
The now-closed Hagia Constantinus Roman Primary School and the Church of Hagia Constantinus past it, currently Karamanlılar Church, are located several hundred meters away along the same row. This church was built by Romans who spoke Turkish and wrote in Roman. They were invited here from Konya by Fatih Sultan Mehmet following the conquest. Further along the avenue are Uşşaki Mosque, the building of Yedikule Sports Club which is a meeting place for the youngsters of the district, and the old Safa Restaurant.
The mosque on Yedikule Hacı Evhaddin Avenue was built in 1575 by Architect Sinan upon request of Hacı Evhaddin, the palace’s master butcher. The old building burnt down in 1920. It was rebuilt by charitable people in 1934 but some sections were not in compliance with the plan of Sinan. Hüseyin Hacı Ağa Mosque, Malcı Mosque and the damaged İmrahor Masjid, formerly Studios Monastery, on Mühendis Ali Street are also in this district which maintains the traces of history better than many other districts.

Hacı Evhaddin Mosque

İWe are now at Yedikule gate under the city walls of Yedikule. 200 hundred years ago, behind this gate was considered outside of İstanbul. The stadium of Yedikule and the bulbous plants garden here are wroth seeing. When we arrive at Yedikule Museum, the rising tower makes us feel as if we were standing before a giant. The tower, whose door descended from Byzantium, used to be used as a dungeon in the past. Now a museum, the tower was not easy to enter or exit back then. It was a prison in both Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Grand Vizier Çandarlı Halil Paşa, who was punished by Fatih Sultan Mehmet for bribery, and Grand Vizier Mahmut, Kara Davut Pasha and Sultan Osman II in later eras, served their sentences here. Later in time, the dungeon continued to be used as a prison for ambassadors and political convicts. It served as the treasury room of the Ottoman Empire for a while as well. The last function it offered before it was converted into a museum was being the place where palace lions were trained and kept.

Yedikule Dungoen (Museum)

Before we our route on İmrahor İlyas Bey Avenue, I would like to remind you that Yedikule Museum is open between 09:00 and 17:30 O’clock everyday considering you may want to visit it as well. The entrance fee is 3 liras for domestics and 5 liras for foreign tourists. Fatih District Police Department is located past the museum and the İETT Yedikule route ends here.



City Walls of Yedikule

Let us start our sea trip to Silivrikapı from the shore. Our first stop is Mermerkule, which is not a part of the city walls and located by the shore. The only building on Kennedy Avenue, which separates the sea from the city walls, is Narlıkapı Surp Hovannes Armenian Church. This church was originally built to serve as a plague hospital in 1827. Later, it was converted into a church. When we enter through the city walls, we see the gigantic tower of the natural gas facility which was built by the French during the Ottoman era and is out of use now. The railroad connecting Europe to Sirkeci is right in front of us running along the shoreline through Yedikule. It is possible to come across the traces of old İstanbul as you behold the two- and three-floor houses in Yedikule.