Maiden Tower

All you need to know about Maiden Tower (Kız Kulesi)

The Maiden Tower is one of the most popular and well-known landmarks in all of Istanbul. Istanbul is the third tourist city in the world with a very rich history. Also, Istanbul is the economic and cultural center of Turkey.

Many people know the Maiden’s Tower as a symbol of the city of Istanbul and it is called Kız Kulesi in Istanbul TurkishThe Istanbul Tower may be found in the center of the Bosphorus Strait on a tiny island. The sole Byzantine-era structure still standing in the Üsküdar area is Maiden’s Tower or Maiden’s Castle, which has come to represent the area.

Being in a suitable location and the unique beauty of this tower have caused it to attract many tourists every year. The huge history of Maiden’s Tower in Istanbul is one of the most important reasons for its popularity of this tower. The beautiful view of Maiden’s Tower in the waters of Istanbul is very spectacular, especially at sunset, and like a sea lily in the waters of the Bosphorus, it amazes the eyes of every viewer.

History of Maiden’s Tower in Istanbul

Maiden Tower or Maiden Castle is the first lighthouse of Istanbul and besides its many uses, it is famous for various legends. The Maiden’s Tower dates back to the Byzantine era of Turkey, about 1000 years ago. The names Lindros and Damalis (meaning calf) are also used to refer to the Maiden’s Tower and later the Eastern Roman emperor chose the name Adekla for this tower, which means small castle.

The main building of this tower was destroyed when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottomans, then they created a wooden structure in its place, which was completely burned and destroyed in 1719. One of the famous architects of Istanbul rebuilt this building with a stone structure. The tower was converted into a hospital and radio station during the 1830s cholera pandemic before being given to the Ministry of Defense in 1964 and, 18 years later, to the maritime industries.

Finally, after 5 years, the doors of Maiden’s Tower were opened to the public in 2000. Currently, there is a museum in the place of Maiden’s Tower, and it hosts a small restaurant in its room, which serves a variety of Turkish and international dishes. Visiting the museum inside the tower is free and you can enjoy it.

Maiden Tower, Istanbul, Turkey
Maiden Tower, Istanbul, Turkey

A look at the legends of Istanbul Maiden’s Tower

Along with its historical significance, this well-known tower is also associated with several puzzling and intriguing stories. The rumor has it that a youthful man by the name of Leandros became fascinated with a nun by the name of Hero who resided in the tower.

Each night, Hero would tend to the fire he had built in an effort to attract his beloved to the island. On the other hand, Leandros became disoriented and ended up drowning in the Bosphorus when the fire was put out by a thunderstorm one night. The hero was so overcome with sorrow that he took his own life out of sheer exhaustion.

According to a different version of the tale, a soothsayer predicted to the monarch that his daughter would be killed by a snake bite. The monarch made sure he had somewhere secure to dwell by constructing a castle out in the middle of the water. The princess, however, was killed when she was bitten by the snakes that were on the island. The snakes had found their way there by concealing themselves in a fruit basket.

Lastly and also not least, the tale of Batalgazi is based on the life of a guy who is named the legendary figure. It is said that he falls in love with a Takfur (Christian ruler) girl. Because Takfur had no interest in this guy, he detached his daughter up in the tower to protect her from him, after which Batalgazi attacked the island and kidnapped her, and disappeared with her in the sunset.

The architecture of Istanbul Maiden’s Tower

The son-in-law of Ebrahim Pasha Nowshahri, who is one of the famous architects of Istanbul, rebuilt the stone model of this building, which later added a crystal cubicle and a dome made of lead. In 1857, a lantern was mounted on top of it, and in 1920, it was turned into an automated lighting system.

The signature of Sultan Mahmud II was inscribed on the marble by the renowned calligraph Rahim Effendi. Above the tower room is a stone dome with a high bar in the center. Including the bar, the total height of the tower reaches 23 meters and its body is made of concrete.

Night of Maiden Tower
Night of Maiden Tower

What is the reason for the fame of Istanbul Maiden’s Tower?

In addition to the rather rich history of this tower, its beauty and unique view made it attract the attention of many people. It is interesting to know that this tower has been in many movies and TV shows and has become one of the best places for filming and recording interesting programs. Some of the most famous programs filmed in this area are:

  • A James Bond movie with the name of the world is not enough
  • Hitman movie
  • A spot from the American game reality show The Amazing Race 7
  • Turkish drama program Kurtlar Vadis
  • The Assassin’s Creed Revelations game: Assassin’s Creed Revelations is located where the location of Masyaf key is located, and the character of the game must reach this tower to find it.
Istanbul Maiden Tower
Istanbul Maiden Tower

Sightseeing places of Maiden’s Tower

Maiden’s Tower has had various uses throughout history. The uses of this historical tower can be mentioned from the defense castle to the lighthouse and the radio station. These days, the tower has become one of the sights of Istanbul. Today, visiting the outer environment of this castle alone is considered one of the attractions of this tower. In addition to sightseeing in the tower’s surroundings, there is also a spectacular restaurant and museum, whose features will be mentioned below.

  • Maiden’s Tower Museum in Istanbul

    To visit Maiden’s Tower Museum, just walk up a few floors of the tower to see a view of ancient equipment and antiques. Most of the works of this museum are related to the years when the tower had different uses.

  • Restaurant Maiden’s Tower in Istanbul

    Maiden’s Tower has a 360-degree view of Istanbul’s Asian and European areas. Such a feature has provided a suitable place for a restaurant in this tower. This is where tower restaurant stands out to make a delicious memory for tourists with traditional and international dishes.


    Restaurant Maiden's Tower in Istanbul
    Restaurant Maiden Tower in Istanbul

  • Istanbul Maiden’s Tower café

    Istanbul has so many famous restaurants that you might not get the chance to eat at the tower restaurant. If you have visited this tower, it is better to go to Maiden’s Tower Cafe and refresh your throat.

How to reach the Istanbul Maiden’s Tower

To visit this tower, you need to get to Kabataş or Salajak pier and then go to Maiden’s Tower easily and without cost by boat. These boats usually leave every quarter or half an hour.

The view of Maiden Tower
The view of Maiden Tower

Suggested cost and time to visit the Maiden’s Tower

It’s no wonder that entry to such a beautiful place costs money. To visit Maiden’s Tower Istanbul, you need to buy an entrance ticket. You don’t need a reservation to visit the tower, but if you plan to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you need to make a reservation in advance. The recommended time to visit Istanbul Maiden Tower is 1-2 hours.

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