Castles come in different varieties. There are those well preserved that you can tour and marvel at all the furnishings and décor from centuries past, seeing how people used to live. And there are those that are nothing more than ruins, leaving everything to the imagination.
Yoros Castle in in ruins. It sits at the top of a hill above the village of Anadolu Kavağı in Turkey, where the Bosphorus meets the Black Sea. My friend Mike and I hiked up to see the ruins when we visited Turkey last year.
Hiked is probably too strong a word: there are roads and we walked up, stopping to admire the view of the harbour and making sure not to take a wrong turn into the military area. We had taken a Bosphorus boat tour and Anadolu Kavağı was the end, the place where we stopped for lunch and a bit of sightseeing before the return trip to Istanbul.
The guide book I was using was a little hazy on the significance of the castle. I think the idea was that you might as well walk to it since you had to wait for the boat and admission to the site was free. Mind you, all you have to do is look at the location to see the significance of Yoros Castle. It would have controlled the entrance to the Bosphorus from the Black Sea (and vice versa) which would have made it hugely important militarily. Having looked it up after the trip I know that at one point they could stretch a chain across the Bosphorus to the other side to stop ships from coming in or out. On a major trade route that is real power.
I would recommend Yoros Castle for the view if nothing else. The interior of the building was roped off when we were there, and although I saw some people inside I decided not to risk it. Didn’t want to run afoul of the security guard, and I supposed there could be dangerous sections, and who wants to risk injury when on vacation? There was an archeological dig on the site, but it too was cordoned off, and there didn’t seem to be anyone around connected with it. Which was too bad – I would like to have talked with the archeologists about what they were finding – the site was first occupied, more or less, more than 2,000 years ago, so there is a lot of history there. And you know how I am – insatiably curious about almost everything.
I could tell you about the boat trip to get to Anadolu Kavağı, about the sights along the way, about the very aggressive restauranteurs who met our boat when we docked – or I could make you wait for another day. That sounds like a good idea.