The Maiden’s Tower, inspired by its beauty and films and poems, is one of the most beautiful architectural structures of Istanbul. Its vibrant history and unique scenery make the tower, which is derived from all kinds of legends, as interesting as the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque. If you wish, without further ado, let us move on to the details of the structure.
These are some words told about Maiden Tower;
#The tower is a toy that has fallen into the sea.(Sunay Akın)
#She was in love with Istanbul Maiden’s Tower, but Maiden’s Tower was always alone.
#My solitude was like a Maiden’s Tower, alone in the middle of a big city.
#My solitude was like a Maiden’s Tower, alone in the middle of a big city.
#I know your Maiden’s Tower is your birthday cake. (Sunay Akın)
#Thus, the Maiden’s Tower began to write letters to Galata. These were letters never sent.
#When I say Istanbul, I think of towers, when I draw one, the other gets jealous, but if the mind of this girl tower comes to galata tower, they have lots of children. (Bedri Rahmi Eyüpoğlu)
#It is a high tower made of craftsmanship, four corners, an arrow shot away from the land in the sea. Its height is 80 cubits. The area is two hundred steps, the door is on the ground from two sides. (Evliya Çelebi)
Maiden’s Tower Information
The tower, built on a small islet, is about 18 meters high. The 5-storey building is the last Byzantine building in the Üsküdar district. The tower was named after Damalis, the wife of King Chares of Athens in ancient times. The tower, which was inspired by the legend, was called esi Leandros’ Tower Arc and was called Arcla during the Byzantine period. Those who gave the historical structure the name used today were the Ottomans.
The tower, which could not be used many times due to fire and earthquake disasters in the past, has changed its present shape to a great extent in II. It was recovered during the Mahmud period. In fact, the monogram of the sultan was added to the entrance of the building with an inscription.
Maiden’s Tower History
Maiden Tower From Past To Present
This unique structure, which dates back 2500 years ago, lived a history equivalent to the history of Istanbul and witnessed the experiences of this city. From ancient Greece to the Byzantine Empire, from Byzantium to the Ottoman Empire, it has existed in all historical periods.
B.C. Maiden’s Tower
According to Evripidis, a Greek Cypriot researcher, the land fragment, which was originally a protrusion of the Asian coast, was detached from the shore over time and the islet on which the Maiden’s Tower was formed. Maiden Tower on the rock for the first time BC. 410. At that time, Alkibiades, the commander of Athens, built a tower on this small island in order to control the ships entering and exiting the Bosphorus. From the place of Sarayburnu, the chain is stretched to the island where the tower is located and thus the tower becomes a customs station which controls the entrances and exits of the Bosphorus. Years later, BC. In 341, the Greek Commander Chares built a monument to his wife on the marble pillars.
A.D. In 1110s, the first prominent structure (tower) on this small islet was built by Emperor Manuel Comnenos. Emperor Manuel, who reigned between 1143 and 1178, built two towers to help defend the city. Emperor Manuel, who built one of them near Mangana Monastery (the coast of Topkapı Palace) and the other where Maiden Tower was located, chained the two towers between the two towers in order not to enter enemy ships into the Bosphorus and to prevent the passage of merchant ships without customs duties.
Maiden’s Tower, which was ruined and repaired from time to time, was used as a base by the Venetians during the conquest of Istanbul. When Fatih Sultan Mehmet besieged Istanbul, a fleet from Venice under the command of Gabriel Treviziano was stationed there to help Byzantium.
The Ottoman Period
After the conquest, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror demolished this small castle and built a small fortress made of stone instead of stone. These cannons placed in the castle became an effective weapon for the ships in the port. However, the tower was used as a demonstration platform rather than a defensive fortress during the Ottoman period, and Mehters read Nevbet (a kind of National Anthem) with cannon shots. The foundations of the tower that we see today and the important parts of the lower floor are the structure of the Fatih era. It is known that the Maiden’s Tower was restored during the Ottoman period or rebuilt from time to time. Kizkulesi, like many other buildings in Istanbul, was damaged in the earthquake that occurred in 1510 and called ”small apocalypse,. The tower was repaired during the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim. Because of its shallow surroundings, a lantern was placed in the tower after the 17th century. From this date the tower began to serve as a lighthouse, not a castle anymore. The cannons in the tower were no longer used for protection but for salutations in ceremonies. Prince Selim, who came to Istanbul to take the throne after the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, was greeted with cannons thrown from Kizkulesi as he passed through Uskudar. After that, this salute was made for each sultan who passed to the throne for a long time and the passage of the sultan was announced to the public by ball throws. In 1719, due to the fire caused by the oil lamp on the lantern igniting the wind, the tower, whose interior was completely wooden, was burned. In 1725 Damat Ibrahim Pasha, the chief architect of the city, underwent a thorough repair. After this repair, the tower, lead dome and lantern section was restored as masonry and glass. Then in 1731, the tower’s lighthouse and artillery grids and other places were repaired again. Maiden’s Tower began to be used as a defensive fortress once the Ottoman Empire entered the collapse period. Cannon shots for pastimes and celebrations are now defensive. In 1830-1831, the tower became a quarantine hospital to prevent the spread of the cholera epidemic. Later, during the plague epidemic in 1836-1837 where 20-30 thousand people died, some of the patients were isolated in the hospital established here. The spread of the epidemic was prevented by the quarantine applied in this hospital in MaidenTower. The last major restoration of the Maiden Tower in the Ottoman period was the II. It was built during the period of Mahmud. After the renovation in 1832-33, which gave the present shape of the tower, the calligraphy of the famous calligrapher Rakim and the marble on the gate of Kizkulesi Sultan II. It is placed in an inscription bearing the monogram of Mahmut. In this restoration, which was done in Ottoman-Baroque architectural style, a sliced dome and a flagpole rising over the dome were added to the tower. In 1857, a new lighthouse was built by the French company.
During the Second World War, renovation work is being carried out in MaidenTower. The rotting wooden parts of the tower are repaired and some parts are demolished and turned into reinforced concrete. In 1943, the tower underwent a major repair and large rocks were placed around the tower to prevent it from sliding into the sea. Meanwhile, the warehouse and gas depots on the quay around the rock where the tower sits were removed. The outer walls of the building were preserved and the interior was renovated as reinforced concrete. Kizkulesi was transferred to the military in 1959 and was used as a radar station under the Navy Command for monitoring the sea and air traffic of the Bosphorus. The cistern in the building, which is the “Navy Facility Mine Surveillance and Radar Station bin, was closed by pouring concrete during the renovations in 1965. After 1983, the tower was left to Maritime Operations and was used as an intermediate station until 1992.
Today’s Maiden’s Tower…
The Tower, which was known as Arkla (small castle) and Damialis (calf cub) in ancient times, became famous with the name “Tour de Leandros” (Leandros’ tower), and today it is integrated with the name Maiden Tower. In 1995, the restoration process of Maiden Tower begins. This special place, which has a mysterious history for thousands of years, opens its doors to visitors in 2000 after the restoration work, which is completed by adhering to its unique identity and traditional architecture. Today Kizkulesi, which serves domestic and foreign visitors as a cafe-restaurant during the day and as a private restaurant in the evening, hosts many special invitations and organizations such as weddings, meetings, launches and business lunches.
Legend of Maiden’s Tower
As I mentioned above, Kuz Kulesi is probably one of the most famous legends about Istanbul. Greeks, Romans and Ottomans told legends separately and according to these stories they gave names to the tower.
For example, the Greeks called it the Damalis Tower. The reason, as I wrote in the beginning, was the Athenians at that time. King Hares of Athens had a beautiful wife. Salacak loves the coast so much he buried him here when he died. For this reason, the Greeks called Damalis beach and Damalis tower. Even if it is true, there is a statue of Queen Damalis on the rocks.
The Legend of Hero and Leandros
Hero is one of the nuns of Aphrodite, who was described as the goddess of love and beauty in Greek mythology and works in the Maiden’s Tower. Being a nun is forbidden to love and has no relationship with men.
One day he crosses the tower for a ceremony. There he meets another priest named Leandros and falls in love with him at first sight. Reverend Leandros has the same feelings. The only way they can meet is when Leandros swims across the cold and sinking waters of the Bosphorus at night. The story of the couple who have been in love this way for a while ends on a windy night with the extinction of the flashlight that Hero lit to guide his lover. Leandros, who lost his way in the dark, drowned. Legend has it that Sister Hero, who witnessed this situation with his own eyes, cannot bear the pain he experienced, and he puts himself to the waters of the Bosphorus and ends his life.
Based on this legend, the Romans called it Leandros Tower.
Legend of Poisonous Snake in a Basket
Another legend of the Maiden’s Tower tells of the poisonous snake that came to the tower with the basket. However, this legend has both Greek – Roman and Turkish variants. Chronologically.
In ancient times, a Roman emperor was told by fortune-telling that his wife would die. He places it in the Maiden’s Tower to protect his queen. He does not allow anyone but him and his private servants to enter. Nevertheless, he cannot avoid fate, and the snake coming out of the basket of food sent to the queen kills him there.
According to this story, one of the Seljuk Sultans sees in his dream that his beloved daughter will be bitten to death by a snake. Vesveseye the sultan, the daughter places the tower. He won’t let anyone in and out of the tower, including himself. Even water and milk are poured into the islet with special pipes. Then years later, the sultan became ill. She is barely cured by the best physician known to date young girls. Thereupon, gifts were sent to the lady sultan from many different places, including a basket of grapes. The snake, hidden in a basket of grapes, poisoned the lady sultan that night, causing her death.
The Legend of Battal Gazi
Another legend of the Turkish Maiden’s Tower is about Seyyid Battal Gazi. Battal Gazi participated in the siege of Istanbul with the army of the Islamic Caliph Harun Reşid. Battal Gazi continues to stay in Üsküdar while the Islamic army, which could not get results from the siege, retreats. Because he is in love with the daughter of the One. However, with the permission of the emperor, Üsküdar Tekfur imprisoned his daughter in the tower and tried to detach him from Battal. On top of that, Seyyid Battal escapes by taking the girl of Tekfur and the treasures in the tower one night by pressing the Maiden’s Tower. It is said that the famous “horse that took the horse passed Üsküdar” is based on this legend.
Maiden’s Tower Restaurant
The Maiden’s Tower, which is located close to the part of the Bosphorus, which opens to the Marmara Sea, has a restaurant and bar open 7 days a week. In the evening, you can enjoy pleasant meals with your loved ones while enjoying the city view. The restaurant also serves breakfast and lunch during the day. Breakfast is served from 09.00 on weekdays and 10.00 on weekends; It ends at 1:00. Lunch service starts from 12.00.
The restaurant’s dinner menu consists of 2 different options. Kiz Kulesi Restaurant, which is one of the places I prefer to celebrate on special occasions, has a rich content in both choices. You can review the menu and prices of the restaurant by clicking the link below.
The Tower Bar, which enchants its guests with a 360 ° view of the Bosphorus, is equipped to organize various events. The bar is open from 20.15-00.30 and special packages are available on request. You can find detailed information about the restaurant and bar at kizkulesi.com.tr. The site also offers online booking.
Where is Maiden’s Tower and how to get there?
Maiden’s Tower, which has added beauty to the beauty of the Bosphorus for more than 2,000 years, is located 200 meters off the Salacak Beach in Üsküdar. Although the tower can be easily seen from both sides of the Bosphorus, it is best viewed from the coastal part of Salacak due to its proximity.
You can reach the tower by boats from Salacak or Kabataş. I prefer boats waiting on Salacak Beach on days when I don’t want to waste much time. The shields from Kabataş give the passengers the opportunity to breathe the throat air. Ring boats from Salacak to the historical structure depart every 15 minutes during the day from 09.15 to 18.30. The flights from Kabataş start at 12.00 on weekdays and at 10.00 on weekends. 45 minutes from the tower to Kabataş last time of the vehicles 19.00 hours.
Maiden’s Tower Visiting Days and Hours
You can visit the historical structure, which operates both as a museum and a restaurant, between 09.00 and 19.00, 365 days a year. In addition to breakfast during the day, it is not necessary to make a reservation to benefit from the towers.
With its historical value and scenery, the entrance fee to the tower is an indispensable part of Istanbul’s list of places to visit.
Finally, where can we get general information about hotel accommodation and our hotel recommendations? You can read our article titled.
Here are videos and photos about Maiden Tower;