Stories Images Objects

Yorgi’s view of the sea defence of Constantinople

In the Conquest of Constantinople (now known as Istanbul) of , one of the most famous stories is how the Ottomans breached the Byzantine . To stop a naval attack, the Byzantines installed an immense chain in the water, from one side of the to another. A section of the chain is on display at the in Istanbul. The story goes that Sultan Mehmet II was able to bypass this defense by having the fleet dragged up onto the banks and carried on land past the chain.

Yorgi is a retired architect from Istanbul who has lived in since 1966. He has created numerous architectural drawings relating to Byzantine Constantinople. These are on display in the lobby of the Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans in Athens. After reading many historical sources and building models of the chain, he now believes that the waterway is too wide for a single chain, and that the defense was more likely to have been made up of many chains with bigger links.

•There are good Byzantine specialists in Europe, but I lived in that city [Istanbul]. I feel the topography. Even the water: when the ancient sources talk about the Bosporous or Golden Horn, I understand, because I swam in that water.

Yorgi points out the way that the chain would have worked, referring to  photograph of the model that he built in his own office.