News & Updates

Leonardo da Vinci in the Ottoman Empire

Unlocking History: Da Vinci's Encounter with Sultan Bayezid II

Leonardo da Vinci in the Ottoman EmpireLeonardo da Vinci Engagement with Ottoman Sultan

Leonardo da Vinci, renowned for his artistic masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, was not just a painter but a true Renaissance man. His insatiable curiosity and innovative mind led him to explore various fields, including engineering and architecture. One of the lesser-known aspects of his work is his designs for a revolutionary bridge and his engagement with Ottoman Sultan.

The Ingenious Bridge Designs

The merchants informed him that Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II was looking for an engineer who could construct a bridge over Halic, (the Golden Horn). The proposal was for the bridge to span Golden Horn in Istanbul. This ambitious project challenged da Vinci to push the boundaries of engineering and design. His proposed bridge was a marvel of innovation! Unique double-arch design that would allow ships to pass underneath with ease.

Despite never seeing his design come to fruition, da Vinci’s bridge concept was truly ahead of its time. It showcased his understanding of geometry, physics, and the principles of structural engineering. His meticulous drawings and calculations demonstrated his meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence.

He actually wrote a letter in Turkish in the ‘Arabic Style’ from right-to-left.

Telegram whatsapp TikTok Connect with us on SOCIAL MEDIA to catch up on the latest updates and be part of our growing community!

Here is the letter from Leonardo da Vinci to the Ottoman Sultan;

“I, your faithful servant, understand that it has been your intention to erect a bridge from Galata (Pera) to Stambul… across the Golden Horn, but this has not been done because there were no experts available. I, your subject, have determined how to build the bridge. It will be a masonry bridge as high as a building, and even tall ships will sail under it,”.

Leonardo da Vinci's Bridge Design for the Ottoman Istanbul
Leonardo da Vinci’s Bridge Design for the Ottoman Istanbul


But the da Vinci’s ambitions did not end there, as he also proposed to build a further bridge connecting Europe and Asia, across the Bosphorus Strait.

Here is the second part of the letter from Leonardo da Vinci to the Ottoman Sultan;

“I plan to build a suspension bridge across the Bosporus to allow people to travel between Europe and Asia. By the power of God, I hope you will believe my words. I will be at your beck and call at all times,” he adds, signing the letter “Architect/engineer Leonardo da Vinci.”

In ordinary long bridges from the period, semi-circular arches and piers were built along the length of the structure to maintain its structural integrity. However, Leonardo proposed a single arch spanning the waterway, which would have risen to 43 meters above sea level and would have been 240 meters long. The specifications would allow boats to pass under the bridge with ease.

A general view of the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn, in Istanbul, Thursday July 21, 2016.
A general view of the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn, in Istanbul, Thursday July 21, 2016.

These ideas revolutionized bridge engineering, as there were no bridges along the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus at that time. The first suspension bridges would not have been built until 400 years later, in the 20th century. However, despite his clear enthusiasm, the Ottomans did not hire the great artist. The letter remained lost for hundreds of years.

Why there was no response remains a mystery.

The sketch of a bridge appeared in one of Leonardo’s notebooks in a royal library in France in the 20th century.

Stay tuned to for the latest updates on Kuruluş Osman, Sultan Mehmed, Salahaddin Eyubbi, and more Historical News!



Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

The revenue earned from advertising enables us to provide the quality content you're trying to reach right now. To watch this video, we kindly ask you to disable adblock for this website and reload this page.Thank you for understanding.