Ephemera

Bulwer’s Castle

Sir Henry Bulwer was a the British Ambassador in Constantinople and during his tenure (1858-1865) he built this large folly on the un-inhabited island in the Sea of Marmara, Yassı Ada (Greek: Plati) that stood as a ruin till the 1950s, before military authorities demolished it and in its place rose a prison, notorious for being the place of trial of the former prime-minister Adnan Menderes and two of his deputies in 1961 who were hanged. Views taken by tourists in the 1930s.

The second folly in the centre of the island again in the form of a medieval castle was probably built on the remains of the former Byzantine monastery whose masonry was possibly re-used. Seen below.

In the early 1960s the island was covered in naval buildings housing as political prisoners over 500 deputies and a military tribunal court to convinct them.

The remains of the neglected buildings before 2015, the front portion of the castle still stands, badly restored with cement and missing one of the main towers, the area used for a time as an ‘illegal’ beach by Russian day-trippers. In 2015 island was opened by the Culture and Tourim ministry to development that include the current (2016) construction of 21 builings including a 5-star hotel, conference centre, museum, exhibition space, restaurants and mosque resulting in the removal of natural vegetation cover and replaced by ordered gardens in a building crowded space, a proposed dual development (Democracy and Freedom islands) with a neighbouring small island that would suffer a similar fate. Pre-construction clearance and land-levelling started in May 2015. It appears from the plans Bulwer’s castle remains will be preserved. However it is almost impossible to conceive how the Byzantine monastery etc. remains can survive the huge excavations as shown below.

The partially destroyed underground dungeon, probably from Byzantine times, before their total destruction, photographed summer 2015.

What appear to be the remains of the upper castle in the background, photographed July 2015.

Situation May 2016.