Çeşme Castle Museum

Çeşme Castle (Çeşme Kalesi), Musalla, 1015. Sk., 35930 Çeşme/İzmir, Turkey. Telephone: +90 (232) 712 6609. Opening hours: 7-days / week, summer (1 Apr – 31 Oct) 08:00-19:00, winter 08:30-17:30. Admission is ₺ 14.

A castle was initially built on the hill by the Genoese but was significantly enlarged and fortified in 1508-1509 by Sultan Beyazıt (1447-1512) to defend Çeşme and the coastline from pirates. It was constructed with six towers, deep moats on three sides, originally with the sea on the west wall, currently 1015 sok. (street) and with the main entrance with an iron door and gate on the upper part of the south wall, currently 1001 sok. The walls facing the sea are 86 metres wide, the caste stretches back 127 metres and narrows slightly at the top on the east side to 82 metres. The last military use for the castle was 1832-1833 during the Greek uprising and following the Crimean War (1853-1856) the cannons were removed.

Located adjacent to Cumhuriyet Meydanı (Republic Square) at the west end of the high street, the fortress dominates the shoreline rising above the city centre to provide spectacular views across the town, marina & port, waterfront and across the Chios Strait. Today the castle houses three historical exhibits featuring artefacts from the Bağlararası prehistoric settlement & Erythrai, objects referencing the 1770 Battle of Chesme during the Russo-Turkish War and amphoras collected from local waters.

Castle Exhibitions

Ottoman-Russian Naval War Hall: Close to the public entrance up from the first stairs leading to the Genoese Tower is a small exhibition marking the Battle of Chesme (5–7 July 1770). The collection comprises coins and a medal, personal effects and weaponry recovered from the sunken ships as well as maps, books, posters, models, flags, period uniforms, reproduction Russian medals and paintings illustrating the battle and corresponding influences on Russian history and architecture. Outside on the tower are cannons, cannonballs and anchors recovered from the sunken ships of the campaign including a highly decorative cannon from the 66-gun galleon Yuestafiy commanded by Admiral Grigory Spiridov, Commander in Chief of the Russian Mediterranean Fleet, who escaped to the ship Tri Svyatitelya. The Yuestafiy with 700 crew burned and subsequently exploded on 5th July 1970 when the mast of the damaged 84-gun Ottoman Burc-u Zafer fell across her decks.

Amphora Exhibition: On the righthand side of the hallway leading into the upper castle is a collection of amphora displayed in chronological order, that where recovered from the waters by divers and in fishing nets in the vicinity of Çeşme and Karaburun. On the left side of the same hall are busts of Seljuk commander Çaka Bey (?-1097) who with the Anatolian Turks first naval victory on 19 May 1090 defeated the Byzantine fleet in Lesbos and Chios and also Gazi Umur Bey (1309-1348) famous for his naval expeditions against the crusades.

Archaeological Halls: Leading out from the amphora exhibition to the right are three exhibition halls. The display includes coins, terracotta, ceramic and glass archaeological objects such as pots, oil lamps and figurines dating from Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic Roman and Eastern Roman periods of Çeşme.

Umur Bey Tower Exhibition Room: In the lower part of the upper castle on the Umur Bey Tower is a varied collection of larger statues, stonework, bowls, gravestones and stelae dating from Roman times to 19th century.

Castle Fountain: Located at the old main gate on the south wall between the mosque and Çaka Bey tower, it has a cut stone facade and comprised mainly of rubble masonry. Being recently restored it is an excellent example of an Ottoman fountain and water chamber, forming a significant part of the castle entrance hall.

Ottoman Gravestones: Along the south wall adjacent to the original entrance of the castle is an extensive collection of Ottoman period gravestones. Storage of the gravestones inside the castle provide for conservation and preservation; many have intricate geometric and decorative carvings.