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Babakale Fortress

The Ottoman fortress Babakale is located in the village of the same name. The citadel of Babakale stands out doubly from among other fortresses built during the reign of the Ottoman dynasty. Firstly, it is exactly the furthest western-most point of the Asian continent. Secondly, it is the last fortress erected by the Ottomans located within the area of today’s Republic of Turkey.

It was built to assist the local garrison in the fight against pirates, who prowled this part of the Aegean Sea. According to the information board in the stronghold, the building was constructed by Admiral Mustafa Pasha. Construction of the mosque, bathhouse and fountain in the village is also attributed to him.

A more complex version of the history of the fortress tells us that its construction was commissioned by Sultan Ahmed III. Apparently a ship, which travelled him, was sheltering there from a storm. During a short stay in Babakale the Sultan learned of the enormous wrongs inflicted on the community by the corsairs. He ordered to build a castle, which was erected using the prisoners by 1720.

There is an Arabic inscription chiselled in the stone above the main gate leading into the fortress. The area inside the walls is partially covered with thick bushes and partially cleared and hardened – there is a small football pitch. Apparently, local celebrations and wedding are held in the fortress as well.

When viewed from above the outlines and foundations of several buildings that stood around the castle grounds. There is a modern lighthouse located on one of the towers.

The condition of the walls indicates a recent renovation, the modern replacements are visible in the gates and ramparts bitten by the tooth of time. You may walk around the defensive walls – a narrow pavement leads around them. Please note that there are no protective railings or safeguards against falls from a considerable height, so extreme caution is advised.

There are no additional attractions for visitors within the stronghold, such as museum or exhibitions. The views that can be admired from the walls are most impressive: on the one hand – on the Aegean Sea and two islands – Turkish Bozcaada and Greek Lesbos, on the other – over village Babakale and the nearby steep hills.

Practical information

The entrance to the fortress is free. There is a parking in front of the stronghold.

The author of the article: Izabela Miszczak – Turcja w Sandałach