Mankind learned very early in our history that to protect a piece of land, it had to be fortified. From its humble beginnings, the concept would evolve to produce some of the world’s great fortresses of all time. We look over time and distance to find the some most impressive fortresses from around the world and throughout history.
1. Rumeli, Istanbul
It was built by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II (Mehmed the Conqueror) in preparation for the conquest of Constantinople. The castle is located on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait at its narrowest point with approximately 660 meters. It is right in front of Anadolu Castle (Anadolu Hisarı) which is another Ottoman castle built in 1394 by Bayezid I. Anadolu Castle and Rumeli Castle were built by Ottoman sultans in order to prevent the military and economic aid to the Byzantine Empire from the north. , Black Sea. Thus, the Bosphorus Strait connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. Rumeli Castle consists of three large towers, one small tower and thirteen smaller towers, all in very good condition. The architect of the castle was the architect Müslihiddin and at the time of its construction his name was Boğazkesen (Strait Cutter).
- How Can Go: The easiest way to get to the Rumeli Castle is to take a bus passing by Rumeli Hisarı bus station and to get of at Rumeli Hisarı bus stop. The castle is just next to the bus stop.
- Visiting Time: The Rumeli Castle is open everyday except Wednesdays between 9 am and 5 pm Entrance to the Rumeli Castle is 25 Turkish Liras per person.
2. Dover Castle
Dover Castle, located in the southern county of Kent, is one of the largest castles in England and one of the first to have concentric defensive walls. Dover Castle was first constructed by William I (aka William the Conqueror, r. 1066-1087 CE). Dover was a prime example of the Norman King’s strategy, situated in a strategically important position on an elevation overlooking the Strait of Dover and close to the old vital Canterbury Road. The site of Dover Castle had already attracted the attention of previous builders and had been used from the Iron Age as a fort, by the Romans in the 1st century AD as the location of a lighthouse, and there was a Saxon church of Saint Mary there. , built c. 1000 CE.In the Middle Ages, tunnels were constructed under Dover Castle to be used as a protected line of communication for the soldiers stationed in the northern outposts and to allow for the garrison to gather before attacks without being seen. Later during the Napoleonic Wars, the tunnels were expanded to prepare the castle for a French invasion. Seven tunnels were dug to serve as barracks for soldiers who had already filled up the castle and the town. These tunnels were capable of holding 2,000 troops and are the only underground barracks ever built in Britain.
- Entry Fees: Family (1 adult, up to 3 children): £30.00
3. Murad-Janjira, India
Murud-Janjira Fort is situated on an oval-shaped rock off the Arabian Sea coast near the port city of Murud, 165 km (103 mi) south of Mumbai. Janjira is considered one of the strongest marine forts in India. The fort is approached by sailboats from Rajapuri jetty. The fort has 26 rounded bastions, still intact. There are many cannons of native and European make rusting on the bastions. A special attraction of this fort are 3 gigantic cannons named Kalalbangdi, Chavri and Landa Kasam. These cannons were said to be feared for their shooting range. Another gate to the west is sea-facing, called ‘Darya Darwaza’. The fort wall is about 40 feet high and has 19 rounded porches or arches, some of which still have cannons mounted on them, including the famous cannon Kalaal Baangadi.
- How to Reach: From Alibaug City Center, Murud-Janjira is around 50 km or around 1-1.30 hour drive. One take private vehicle to Murud-Janjira or take rickshaws from Alibaug City Center to Murud-Janjira.
- Timing: 7 AM to 6 PM
- Entry Fee: No Entry Fee
4. Bourtange Fort
- Location: Willem Lodewijkstraat 33, 9545 PA Bourtange, Netherlands
- Opened: 1593
Fort Bourtange is a starred fort located in the village of Bourtange, Groningen, the Netherlands. It was built in 1593 under the orders of William the Silent. Its original purpose was to control the only road between Germany and the city of Groningen, which was controlled by the Spanish during the Eighty Years War. The Bourtange fortress is open all year, and the restaurants and shops determine their own individual opening hours. An entrance fee is charged for a visit to the Bourtange fortress museums; combined admission tickets are available in the information centre. The real enjoyment of Bourtange, though, is just in walking around: on top of the walls, but also through the charming little streets. The central plaza (the Marktplein), cobbled and tree-shaded, is delightful on a sunny day. Sit and have a drink or order a traditional pancake in the outdoor café. Make sure to climb up onto the walls and walk around the perimeter of the village. From up there, you can view the buildings inside the walls from above, but you can also see the extent of the fortifications when you look away from the village. It’s not just a star-shaped wall: it’s a series of concentric walls and moats.
- Museum Ticket: €8.50