Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday ride to Rumeli Feneri

A couple of weeks ago (yeah yeah), we took a Sunday motorcycle ride to Rumeli Feneri, apparently Turkey's largest lighthouse, located in the north of Istanbul where the Bosphorus meets the Black Sea. In the snip below, I've pinpointed our neighborhood (more or less) in yellow while Rumeli Feneri at the top is circled in red (and by the by, the "Istan" of Istanbul near the bottom lies over the location of the city's main historical sites).

I don't really know why we decided to go up to Rumeli Feneri, except that we'd get to ride along the water and then eventually through Istanbul's treed areas, with the wind figuratively whipping through our hair (since we were wearing helmets and all).


There's not much to do or see when you get there - it's a fairly poor fishing area with just a few cafes with a view for the tourists, which is probably why it only gets a passing mention in the guidebook. 

The lighthouse was built in 1855, during the Crimean War, by the French; there's another lighthouse, Anadolu Feneri, on the opposite side. When the French were building it, they found some kind of holy man's tomb which you can apparently tour but we never saw any sign of it; I only learned about it after, from the newspaper article above, when I was trying to figure what the castle/fortress was and how old it might be.


We stumbled across the castle/fortress by chance, when we spotted it from the sea walls on another bluff, and decided to ride over. Its age seemed indeterminate; it had these old, worn-down looking walls which suggested something like 1770, right next to an old, worn-down looking building which suggested something like 1970. (Google's answers here are unreliable because there are multiple castles in the area though perhaps this one was built by the Genoese in the 17th century...but don't quote me on it.)

The castle sits right against the water and even though it belongs to the military (and was fenced), there were a lot of people just strolling through the open gates, using the grounds as a picnic area. So we did as the Romans do and went in; and with recently purchased soft drinks and chips, we fit right in. We sat on one of the walls for awhile, ate our snack, and admired the view. And while it was nice, it could have been nicer - like a lot of places in Turkey, the area is unfortunately marred by the loads of trash picnickers have left behind.

The weather now is starting to get rainy and cold - it's been pouring rain for the last two days - but hopefully we'll have another chance or two to go on these kind of excursions this fall. Pin It

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