Maiden's Tower - Leander's Tower - Kiz kulesi

Maiden's tower or Leander's tower

Istanbul's city pictures almost always include "Kiz Kulesi". "Kiz Kulesi" is called in English Maiden's Tower or Leander's Tower. The Maiden's Tower is located on a small islet at a very short distance from the shores of the district "Uskudar" in the Asian side of the city. It can be seen from Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace, Ortakoy Distric and many other interesting places of Istanbul.

There are several legends about the Maidens' tower... The legend that gives the tower its name tells a story from the Greek mythology. Leandro was in love with Hero, who was a priestess of Aphrodite. Hero's parents disapproved of the romance and trapped her on the islet. To meet her beloved, Leandro swam at night following the light of the tower that was lit by Hero. The family discovered these secret meetings and one night they didn't let Hero light the lamp to guide Leandro, instead Hero's father lit a lamp and was sailing in a small boat across the Bosphorus Strait. Leandro started following the lamp (thinking it was Hero's lamp) and drowned because he couldn't reach the island.

A second legend takes place during the Byzantine Empire when a princess was imprisoned in the tower by her own father, as he learned from a prophecy that her daughter would die. He then placed her in the Maiden Tower, to protect her. Unfortunately at the end of the story, the princess dies from the bite of a snake that was brought to the islet in a fruit basket. So the moral of the story would be: no matter what we do, fate knocks at our door...

And finally, the last tower legend takes place during the Ottoman Empire when Anatolian warrior Battal Gazi fell in love with a beautiful woman, daughter of the governor of Üsküdar. The governor was extremely unhappy with the idea of ??his daughter being taken away and opted to imprison her on the islet. Battal Gazi rescued the maiden from the tower, put her on her horse, and rode during sunset.

In the 12th century, the emperor Manuel Comnenus has built a small fortress where the tower is located. He wanted to tie a chain to close the Bosphorus Strait. The other end of the chain was tied to Tower of Mangana.

Today the tower is used as a lighthouse, signaling station and tourist spot, having a restaurant and cafe with a magnificent view of Istanbul. The building you see dates from the 18th century.

close view of the Maiden's tower or Leander's tower

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