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The Conquest

The Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II known as Fatih (the Conqueror), came to power in 1451, the conquest and immediately departed his capital in Edirne to conquer the once-great Byzantine City.

In four short months Mehmet oversaw the building of Rumeli Hisarı, the great fortress on the European side of the Bosphorus and the repair of Anadolu Hisarı, built half  a century earlier by his great-grandfather Beyazıt I. Together these fortresses controlled the strait’s narrowest point.

The Byzantines had closed the mouth of the Golden Horn with a heavy chain to prevent Ottoman boats from sailing in and attacking the city walls on the northern side. Not to be thwarted. Mehmet marshalled his boats at a cove (where the Dolmabahce Palace now stands) and had them transported overland by night on rollers, uo the valley ( present site of the Hilton Hotel) and down the other side into the Golden Horn at Kasımpasa. Catching the Byzantine defenders by surprise he soon had the Golden Horn  under control.

The last great obstacle was the city’s mighty walls on the western side. No matter how heavily Mehmet’s cannons battered them, the Byzantines rebuilt them by night and come daybreak, the impetuous young sultan would find himself back where he’d started. Finally, he received a proposal from a Hungarian cannon founder called Urban who had come to help the Byzantine emperor defend Christendom against the infidels. Finding that the Byzantine Emperor had no money, Urban instead offered to make Mehmet the most enormous cannon ever seen. Mehmet gladly accepted and the mighty cannon breached the walls, allowing the Ottomans into the city. On 28th May 1453 the final attack began and by the evening of the twenty-ninth the Turks were in complete control of the city. The last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine 9th Dragases died fighting on the walls