Maiden's Tower

Legend behind the name

Comparing to the other popular buildings in Istanbul like Hagia Sophia or Topkapi palace, Kız Kulesi, relatively small is one of the most famous buildings in Istanbul. Located in a small islet on the Bosphorus, shrouded with legends, today is a popular place for couples visiting the local restaurant and café. View of the Bosphorus and Istanbul's skyline seen from these place is outstanding.



Maiden's Tower during sunset, Istanbul



History

The first tower was bulit in 408 BC by the Athenians. It had a function of a watchtower, so that the crew was able to observe and inform about approaching persian schips.

The tower was extended at the beginning of the twelfth century by the Byzantines, and at those times had a funcion of a fortress.

Ottoman Turks renewed it several times. In the time of the Ottoman Empire Kız Kulesi was  a watchtower, a prison and a lighthouse.


 

 

Maiden's Tower in the evening, Istanbul

   

 Legend 

Leander's tower is the older of the two names that Kiz Kulesi is known of. It comes from the Greek myth about Leander who was swimming throught the strait every night to get to the tower, where his lover was kept-
a priestess of Aphrodite.
Name in this case is a bit misleading, because as it was mentioned in the myth the strait is a Dardanele not Bosphorous.

 

The younger name of the building, Maiden’s Tower was taken from the legend about beloved daughter of the Ottoman sultan. He wanted to prevent her from a deadly snake bite, which was  foretold by the oracle. This situation was suppose to happen on the day of 18th birthday of the girl. Sultan situated his daughter
in a tower in the middle of the Bosphorus, where no snakes could have an access.

 

On 18th  birthday of his beloved daughter Sultan gave her a basket of exotic fruits. It turned out, however, that among them snake had been hiding and bit the priness who died in her father’s arms, just as the oracle foretold.

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