A Fascinating Documentary About Fall of Constantinople [VIDEO]


May 29 marks the 561st anniversary since the Fall of Constantinople, which was the result of the siege of the Byzantine capital by the Ottoman army led by Sultan Mehmed II, while the city was being ruled by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos.

The siege lasted from April 6 to May 29, 1453. When Constantinople finally fell, the millennium-long Byzantine Empire ceased to exist.

On Tuesday evening, May 29, the city was attacked by Turks. Once the signal was given, the city suffered a combined attack from three sides simultaneously. The Byzantines were able to cut off the underground tunnels stopping the Turks from passing under the walls. Even though the Ottoman army’s numbers were higher, the citizens of Constantinople were able to repel them multiple times, causing terrible losses. The first two attacks were repelled. But Mehmed had carefully organized the third and last attack.

With great perseverance, the Turks attacked the walls near the gate of San Romano, where the Emperor was fighting. One of the main defenders of the city, Giovanni Giustiniani, was seriously injured and was forced to leave the fight. This was a great loss for the Byzantines. The walls started cracking and the Emperor, who was fighting, fell in battle. There is no precise information on his death. According to popular belief, the Turks failed to break the defense line of the walls. However, someone from the inside betrayed them leaving the Kerkoporta open, so the Turks were able to enter the city and encircle the defenders.

The siege lasted three months and in the end Mehmed’s significantly stronger army conquered Constantinople on Tuesday, May 29, 1453. After the death of Constantine the Turks rushed through the city and pillaged the Byzantines’ property. A large number of citizens took refuge in Hagia Sophia, hoping to find safety there. The Turks, however, were able to break the main gate and rushed into the church where they slaughtered the crowd. On the day of the fall of Constantinople, the Sultan officially entered the city and went to Hagia Sophia, where he prayed. Then the Conqueror settled in imperial Blachernae palace.

The following video is a documentary by National Geographic, depicting the events that occurred during the siege and fall of Constantinople.



  1. If you look closely at the painting you will see a much younger Karolos Papoulias standing on the walls defending the empire.

  2. In January 1453, Sultan Mehmet II had the capital city of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, surrounded. He decided that he was going to take it over either by
    breaking through the city’s defenses or by starving the inhabitants into submission. The sultan had his troops and an enormous fleet at his disposal while the besieged Byzantines (and their Christian allies) were demoralized and divided amongst themselves. Responding to a request for help from the Byzantine Emperor, the Sfakian leader Manousos Kallikratis gathered 300 Sfakian warriors and another 760 Cretan
    fighters from other parts of the island. The leader then sailed in five ships (three of which were Sfakian) and went to help the besieged Emperor.

    The Sfakian/Cretan forces fought valiantly by breaking through the Ottoman blockade and by defending the city itself. Many Cretans died alongside the Byzantines, as well as alongside the few Genoese
    and Venetian co-defenders. When the city fell, the only 170 surviving Cretans had been surrounded by Ottoman troops in one of the city’s towers and were refusing to surrender. The sultan was so impressed by
    their courage and fierce fighting skills that he agreed to let them walk out of the city with their flags, arms, and wounded and sail away to Crete in one of their ships.

    A poet of the time has the Byzantine Emperor saying as he was surrounded by the Ottomans, “Christians, Greeks, cut off my head, take it, good Cretans, and carry it to Crete, for the Cretans to see it and be sad at heart.” Just a few words from an anonymous poet described the deep impact the fall of Constantinople had on the Cretans. They were to become the next home of the refugees from Byzantium and responsible for nurturing the rich heritage left to them by the collapsing Byzantine Empire.

  3. Even if Constantinople held out it would fall. It was only a matter of time. The empire really had been on a respirator for hundreds of years earlier. It all went downhill after Manzikert.

  4. The Walls were compromised from the biggest cannons the world had ever seen and they targeted one specific wall to the city that they battered over and over again, but remember Constantinople had two sets of walls they had a second wall to the city.