Siege of Constantinople (1394–1402)

The siege of Constantinople in 1394–1402 was a long blockade of the capital of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I. Already in 1391, the rapid Ottoman conquests in the Balkans had cut off the city from its hinterland. After constructing the fortress of Anadoluhisarı to control the Bosporus strait, from 1394 on, Bayezid tried to starve the city into submission by blockading it both by land and, less effectively, by sea.

Siege of Constantinople
Part of the Rise of the Ottoman Empire and the Byzantine-Ottoman wars
Map of Constantinople (1422) by Florentine cartographer Cristoforo Buondelmonte.jpg
Constantinople in 1422; the oldest surviving map of the city
Location41°0′44.064″N 28°58′33.665″E / 41.01224000°N 28.97601806°E / 41.01224000; 28.97601806Coordinates: 41°0′44.064″N 28°58′33.665″E / 41.01224000°N 28.97601806°E / 41.01224000; 28.97601806
Result Byzantine victory
 Byzantine Empire
Crusade of Nicopolis
 Kingdom of France
Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Byzantine Empire Manuel II Palaiologos
Byzantine Empire John VII Palaiologos
Kingdom of France Marshal de Boucicaut
Bayezid I
Siege of Constantinople (1394–1402) is located in Istanbul
Siege of Constantinople (1394–1402)
Location within Istanbul
Siege of Constantinople (1394–1402) is located in Mediterranean
Siege of Constantinople (1394–1402)
Siege of Constantinople (1394–1402) (Mediterranean)
Siege of Constantinople (1394–1402) is located in Black Sea
Siege of Constantinople (1394–1402)
Siege of Constantinople (1394–1402) (Black Sea)

The Crusade of Nicopolis was launched to relieve the city, but it was decisively defeated by the Ottomans. In 1399, a French expeditionary force under Marshal de Boucicaut arrived, but was unable to achieve much. The situation became so dire that in December 1399 the Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Palaiologos, left the city to tour the courts of Western Europe in a desperate attempt to secure military aid. The emperor was welcomed with honours, but secured no definite pledges of support. Constantinople was saved when Bayezid had to confront the invasion of Timur in 1402. Bayezid's defeat in the Battle of Ankara in 1402, and the Ottoman civil war that followed, even allowed the Byzantines to regain some lost territories, in the Treaty of Gallipoli.



  • Barker, John W. (1969). Manuel II Palaeologus (1391-1425): A Study in Late Byzantine Statesmanship. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. hdl:2027/heb.02900.0001.001. ISBN 9780813505824.
  • Bernincolas-Hatzopoulos, Dionysios (1983). "The First Siege of Constantinople by the Ottomans (1394-1402) and its Repercussions on the Civilian Population of the City" (PDF). Études Byzantines. 10 (1): 39–51.
  • Brandejs, Jan (2015). "The Russian Aid to Byzantium during the Turkish Siege of Constantinople, 1394–1402" (PDF). Prague Papers on the History of International Relations (1): 7–16.
  • Hadjopoulos, Dionysios (1980). Le premier siège de Constantinople par les Ottomans (1394-1402) (PhD thesis) (in French). University of Montreal.
  • Necipoğlu, Nevra (2009). "The First Challenge: Bayezid I's Siege of Constantinople (1394–1402)". Byzantium between the Ottomans and the Latins: Politics and Society in the Late Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 149–183. ISBN 978-1-107-40388-8.