Xylokerkos Gate / Gate of Belgrade, Istanbul

Xylokerkos Gate / Gate of Belgrade, Istanbul

The Xylokerkos Gate, also known as the Gate of Belgrade, is a historical landmark situated in Istanbul, nestled between towers 22 and 23 of the city's ancient fortifications. This gate, with its name stemming from its path to an external wooden circus (amphitheater), presents a striking structure approximately 12 meters in width and nearly 20 meters in height. Its architectural significance is matched by its rich historical tapestry, marked by closures and openings that reflect the city's tumultuous past.

A notable episode in the gate's history is detailed by the historian Niketas Choniates, who recounts that in 1189, Emperor Isaac II Angelos ordered the gate to be sealed. This decision was driven by a prophecy foretelling that Western Emperor Frederick Barbarossa would enter Constantinople through this very gate. The closure was a strategic move aimed at thwarting the fulfillment of this prophecy. However, the gate's destiny continued to unfold over the centuries, with its reopening in 1346. This event earned it the name of the Belgrade Gate, commemorating the influx of prisoners from Belgrade who settled nearby following the Ottoman conquest of Serbia under Sultan Suleiman I.

The gate's history is further marked by another closure before the pivotal siege of 1453, which led to the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. It remained sealed until 1886, a period during which it was known as Kapalı Kapı, or the "Closed Gate," in the early Ottoman era. This name encapsulates the gate's legacy of being more than just a point of passage; it was a symbol of the city's strategic vulnerabilities and its resilience in the face of prophecy and conquest.

Tip:
Climb the stairs on the right and left sides of the gate to get a different panorama of Istanbul via the defense towers.

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Xylokerkos Gate / Gate of Belgrade on Map

Sight Name: Xylokerkos Gate / Gate of Belgrade
Sight Location: Istanbul, Turkey (See walking tours in Istanbul)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

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