Ioros Castle, commonly known as the "Genoese Castle", was in fact not built by the Genoese Italians, but the Byzantines during the reign of emperor Michael VIII Palaiologus (1261-1282), at the site of an ancient Greek temple predating Christianity (where tributes to 12 Greek Gods were found).
There are several theories about the origins of the name "Ioros". The first one is that it comes from "Hieron", meaning "Sacred Place" in Greek. Another theory is that it comes from "Ourios", meaning "Ideal Winds", which is also one of the nicknames of Zeus. The most commonly accepted theory is that it comes from "Oros" which simply means "Mountain" in Greek, since the castle is situated at the top of a high hill which commands the Black Sea entrance of the Bosphorus.
In the early 1300s, the Genoese Italians took possession of the castle. In 1305 the Turks captured and held the castle for a short time, but the Genoese sailors took it back later in the same year. In 1391 the Ottoman emperor Bayezid II took the castle with a large army from Nicomedia (Kocaeli), and the castle has remained under Turkish control ever since.
The castle is circa 500 meters long, stretching on an east-west axis. The width of the castle changes between 60 to 130 meters. The main entrance of the castle is situated at the eastern wing, at around 120 meters above sea level. The gate stands between two circular towers which are 20 meters high.
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