Byzantine City Walls, Istanbul

Last Updated on July 7, 2022

Constantinople's great city walls were breached only twice in 1600 years.

The 5th-century city walls built by Emperor Theodosius II stretch for 6.5 km (4 miles) from Istanbul's Golden Horn to the Sea of Marmara (map).

You can admire them at many points in Istanbul(especially the several gates in the walls), but it's easiest to combine a view of the walls with a visit to the Kariye Museum (Chora Church) and the nearby Byzantine palace of Tekfur Saray (Palace of Constantine Porphyrogenetus) in the Edirnekapı (Edirne Gate) district.

Istanbul's Theodosian City Walls

Above, the great Theodosian city walls before restoration.

Below, the Mevlana (Rhegium) Gate restored in the 1980s.

Mevlana (Rhegium) Gate in Istanbul's City Walls

Another good vantage point, relatively easy to reach, is Yedikule, the Fortress of the Seven TowersMore...

For transportation tips, see Istanbul City Tours, and also the Kariye Museum page.

The first breach of the walls was by the Fourth Crusadein 1204, the second by the cannons and troops of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453.

Several of the main gates were restored during the 1990s, but other parts of the walls have been left in their unrestored state.

Yedikule Fortress, Istanbul, Turkey

(Fortress of 7 Towers)
Istanbul, Turkey.


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