Yoros Castle

Yoros kalesi (Yoros Castle) is a ruin set high on a bluff near the confluence of the Bosphorus strait and the Black Sea. Its name perhaps comes from the Greek word orios, which refers to a favorable sailing wind. You can reach the castle by taking one of the Bosphorus cruises to Anadolu Kavağı (kavak means “customs,” so the name perhaps refers to the customs offices which existed to tax imports), which is a small fishing village of Istanbul, and then huffing it uphill for fifteen minutes or so along a path lined, naturally, with restaurants and tea houses that lure tired hikers with shade, refreshments and a great view.

The castle is a military garrison dating back to early Byzantine times strategically placed to defend the entrance to the Bosphorus. There was a matching fortification in Rumeli Kavagi on the opposite coast. Back then, the hill that Yoros sat on represented a frontier zone, so in time Byzantines, Ottomans, and Genoese all fought for control of this strategic spot.

After our group received a fabulous on-site lecture on the history of the castle (if you’ve never hiked up a bluff with your teachers and then received an on-site lecture from a trained history professor, it is really special and irreplaceable), we got a few minutes of free time which I wanted to use to soak in the pristine view of the Bosphorus opening into the Black Sea.

I found that my concentration was distracted by two things. One was the persistent thought that this would make a good photo, and I should really take my camera out. The other thought was my standing-and-looking was obstructing other peoples’ shots, and I needed to reposition myself. In other words, there was an internal and external pressure to view the scene through my camera lens rather than my own eyes, both of which distracted me from the raw immediacy of the experience. It made me worry that maybe I am (and by extension, our society is) forgetting how to see things with my own eyes and to live in the moment.

Is this a problem that anyone else has, or am I just being weird and overly romantic, as usual?


3 thoughts on “Yoros Castle

  1. name September 1, 2010 / 11:14 pm

    “If you see something that resonates with you, or even if you don’t, do not hesitate to leave a sign of your existence in the comments thread.”

    anadolu kabagi* it must be “kavağı”
    kabak means pumpkin
    kavak is poplar plant. aber hier es ist ein Eigenname von einer Gegend von Istanbul.
    au revoir!


    • C. Puls September 2, 2010 / 8:05 pm

      Thank you for noticing, the typo has been corrected.


  2. Martin Huennekens September 8, 2010 / 6:57 am

    see with your own eyes and live in the moment.
    but takes lots of pictures so I can see too.


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