Castles and Barracks
The last castle in Beykoz is the Riva Castle. It is the oldest structure that holds the Bosphorus when it’s entered from the Black Sea. The Castle is located where the Riva River flows out to the Black Sea. It is known that in Greek mythology, the leader of the sailors who sought the golden fleece, Iason, found the iron anchor here, and the area is called Ancyranum for that reason. Dionysos of Byzantion who offers valuable information about the topography of the Bosphorus in the First Age, states that the river he calls “Rhebas” in his work called “Anaplous Bosporou” flows out to the Black Sea and that there is no river more beautiful. Petrus Gyllius was in Istanbul betwen 1544-1548 and 1550-1551, read Dionysos’ monograph and wrote a monograph of his own about the Bosphorus, and his book was published in 1561. Gyllius states that the Greek villagers called the settlement “Rhebas” during his visit, and that the mouth of the river is suitable for ships to anchor. The nnaturalist Joseph Piton de Tournefort who came to Istanbul in 1701 mentions the Riva Castle just like many travelers and researchers. Dr. Philip Anton Dethier, in his book “Bosphorus and Istanbul”, dated 1872-1873, writes that “Riva is a tad neglected castle and must be built to repel attacks on Bosphorus from inner Asia.” Our renowned Art Historian, Eyice, observes that although the present Riva Castle is dated as a Genovese structure, its architectural features (cutstone construction walls, circular arches, wide cellars and gratings) show that it is not a Byzantine structure in his book “Bosphorus in the Byzantine Era”. Eyice states that the Riva Castle was conquered by Bayezid I. near the end of the 14th century, just like Yoros and the Şile Castle to the East.
The Castle is called “Revan Castle” in the Ottoman Archives. It is known that the Riva Castle was rebuilt upon its own foundations near the end of the 18th century, and was repaired more than once during the 19th century. Riva Castle, like other castles on the Bosphorus was under the control of the garrison located at the Rumeli Lighthouse, and under the protection of officers called dizdars. The soldiers stationed at the castle were called “Bosphorus Castle Apprentices,” and their commander is under the Janissary Guild along with the Bosphorus Minister Aga. The beach in front of the castle is one of the most crowded beaches in Istanbul in the summer.