The Historical Maiden’s Tower is one of Istanbul’s unique beauties. This magnificent structure stands on an unimposing rock at the entrance of the Bosphorus. In addition to being an iconic landmark of Istanbul, Maiden’s Tower is the subject of various myths. The story of the tower has shown up in different forms. So, the tower has revealed different mysteries. The artists’ canvas, lenses, cameras, verses, lines and compositions finely reflects these mysteries.
Maiden’s Tower From the Past to the Present
The only remains of the Byzantine era in Uskudar, Maiden’s Tower, dates back to 2500 years ago. It carries the history of Istanbul on its walls. In other words, it has seen all of what this city has lived. From ancient Greece to the Byzantine Empire, from Byzantine to Ottoman, it existed in all historical periods. Some European historians call it Leander’s Tower. The reason lies in its story.
How to Get to the Maiden’s Tower
This little island was originally home to a grave in the Greek period. Then it was used as a customs station during the Byzantine times. In the Ottoman period, it had many functions from demonstration platform, defense fortress, exile station to quarantine room. On the other hand, the tower has never lost to work as a lighthouse to guide ships on the nights. Beyond that, throughout the centuries, the outlook of the tower inspired people to dream.
The Maiden’s Tower was restored in 2000. With the Restaurant, it has become a touristic spot where the sounds of cutlery are heard.
Visitors can get to the Maiden’s Tower by boats from Uskudar and Kabatas.
Dining at the Maiden’s Tower
If you want to have an unforgettable meal in the unique view of Istanbul, the Maiden’s Tower fulfills your wishes. At the Restaurant you can have a pleasant dinner with your loved ones. Then, you can enjoy drinks in Kuledebar on the top floor. In this way, you can sip your wine in front of the magnificent landscape and you can have intimate conversations with your loved ones.
Tearful Love Story of the Maiden’s Tower
The most impressive story of the Maiden’s Tower is the immortal and tearful love story of two lovers “Hero and Leandros“.
According to some rumors, this myth emerged at the narrowest crossing of the Dardanelles. But today, perhaps because of the romantic texture that it has, it is the story that comes to mind most when called the Maiden’s Tower.
According to the legend, there is a temple constructed in the name of the goddess Aphrodite on the back of Uskudar at one time. Hero, named in the story, is the priestess of the temple where the young girls serve. Hero serves by feeding doves in the tower. Every year in the spring, ceremonies are held around the temple in the name of the awakening of nature. Those who can not find love call on Aphrodite to get their loved ones they dream of.
Leandros, who lives on the opposite bank of the Bosphorus, also comes to the temple to attend this ceremony and meets Hero. Two youngsters fall in love at first sight. But there is a big obstacle in between. Hero is a nun and marriage is forbidden. However, Leandros wants to get to Hero at all costs.
One night, while looking at the tower from the shore, Leandros sees a light flashing on the top of the Maiden’s Tower. Hero leads Leandros with his torch. Leandros, a good and durable swimmer, jumps into the waters of the Bosphorus with the dream of reaching Hero. He starts to swim with all his power and get to the Tower. The two youngsters bless their love that night.
The Maiden’s Tower witnesses the secret love of two youngsters every night after that day. Then, at a stormy night Leandros jumps into the rough waters of the Bosphorus to meet the unique love Hero. Hero also leads Leandros with the torch as if it were every night. Unfortunately, the torch extinguishes by the strong wind. Therefore, Leandros loses his way in the dark, can not know where to swim, and gets farther away from the Tower. After being tired and exhausted, Leandros can not last any longer and disappears in the dark waters of the Bosphorus. While waiting her lover with sadness and unbearable anxiety, Hero sees Leandros’ lifeless body on the opposite shore. Then, she can not withstand this pain and commits suicide by jumping in the waters of the Maiden’s Tower.