Sultan Of Land And Sea

We remember Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror on the 560th anniversary of his conquest of Istanbul.

A leader far ahead of his time, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror was a multi-faceted intellectual with a firm grasp of both eastern and western culture. He is famous as well for the verses he penned under the name ‘Avni’. Known for his tolerant approach to different cultures, he was fluent in Arabic, Greek, Latin and Persian. He expended great efforts to take Istanbul, then an isolated island within the borders of the Ottoman domains, without the use of force. Together with the conquest, the Ottoman State became an empire. Undergoing rapid reconstruction, the city quickly regained the splendor it had lost in the period of the Latin Conquest. Istanbul was poised now to be the capital of the Ottoman Empire for centuries to come.

Built in 1452
Rumelihisar fortress obstructed possible aid coming via the Black Sea.

April 6, 1453
An offer to surrender the city without a battle was rejected and Istanbul was surrounded on land and sea on the Marmara and Golden Horn sides.

April 18, 1453
The Ottoman army staged its first major attack.

April 20, 1453
Four ships carrying weapons and provisions to aid Byzantium broke through the Ottoman blockade and managed to reach the city.

April 22, 1453
Carried over land, some seventy Ottoman ships were lowered into the water from the hills above the Golden Horn, weakening defense of the land walls by the Byzantine forces who were manning the  Golden Horn walls.

May 7, 1453
An Ottoman force of 30,000 men was unsuccessful in its assault on the city walls.

May 25, 1453
An envoy was sent to the Byzantine emperor offering a last chance to surrender, but it too was rejected.

May 29, 1453
Equipped with the most advanced technology of the time, the Ottoman army launched a major offensive on land and sea. The Byzantine defense collapsed the same day, and Mehmed the Conqueror entered the city from the district now known as Topkapı. Entering the Hagia Sophia, he prayed there and converted the great temple into a mosque. The conquest of Istanbul was proclaimed to the entire world.