The Maiden’s Tower or The Girl’s Tower | A Place you Must Visit in Istanbul

The maiden's Tower or the Girl's Tower

The Maiden’s Tower or The Girl’s Tower | A Place you Must Visit in Istanbul

The Girl Tower or the Maiden’s Tower is a unique tower on an island located near the coastline of Uskudar, Istanbul. The Maiden’s Tower is also unique in its history as it has faced everything the city has to encounter for almost 2500 years. The Maiden’s Tower was constructed in ancient times and the present structure is the most renovated structure after passing through the ages of Ancient Rome, the Byzantine Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. Maiden’s Tower’s current appearance is also mysterious. So, we are going to tell you about its interesting history and then the information about its trip.

Historical Background

Early History

This island was a small mull from the Asia shores and formed the present image after drifting from there. The first-ever tower on this island was constructed in 410 BC by the Athenian commander Alkibiades with the purpose of controlling the passage of boats from Bosphorus and tariff their way. After that, a Greek commander Charles built a mausoleum in the honor of his wife on this island in around 341 BC.

After many centuries in 1110 CE, the Roman Emperor Manuel ordered to build two towers. One of them was constructed on this island, the Maiden’s Tower, and the other was constructed on the shores of Topkapi Palace. A long stretched chain was constrained between these two towers to block the boats heading towards the Bosphorus in order to prevent them enter without paying the tariffs. Maiden’s Tower was damaged many times but also reconstructed again. During the Byzantine period, the Maiden’s Tower was used for an operation command center by Gabrial Treviziano of Venice to support Byzantines.

Ottoman Period

Now it was the period of Ottomans. After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453 by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, he ordered to rebuild the Maiden’s Tower by covering it with the marble stones and also to keep artillery inside to defend the city from enemy boats. But again, a day came in the history which is also known as the “little doomsday” in 1510 CE, a severe earthquake hit Istanbul during which the structure of the Maiden’s Tower was also damaged. Maiden’s Tower reconstruction was again started in the reign of Sultan Selim I.

When Sultan Selim I came to Istanbul for his accession to the throne, he was welcomed by the salvo fire from the maiden’s Tower. After this incident, this became a tradition in the Ottoman Empire and was followed upon every succession. In 1719 CE, the wooden structure inside the stone was burnt down because of the lamp fire inflamed due to strong wind. But in 1731, it was restored by the head of architect Damat Ibrahim Paşa and two more things were added, the stone lighthouse and the leaden dome.

During the plague attack of 1836-1837 CE in Istanbul which caused the death of 20-30,000 citizens, Maiden’s Tower’s hospital was also used for the patients as safety precautions. In 1857 CE, a new lighthouse was constructed by a French company. Now there started the Republic of Turkey’s time. Boulders were placed to protect the tower and island from sliding towards the sea in 1943 CE. Then it started to be used as a radar station for sea and air navigation in 1959 CE.  Later it was handed over to the ministry of maritime affairs in 1983 CE.

When it was first built, the tower received the names of “Arcla” (little tower) and “Damilias” (veal) and later became famous with the name of “Tour de Leandros”. Recently, it has been renamed to “Maiden’s Tower” or also famous with the name of “Girl Tower”. Hamoglu Holding Company achieved its management in 1995 CE for the next 49 years. After restoration, the Maiden’s Tower was opened to the public in 2000 CE. Now the Maiden’s Tower serves its visitors as a café and restaurant and also as a place for private events.


Visit Information and Guide

The Maiden’s Tower is open for the visitors throughout the week until further notice. From Monday to Friday, its timing is 9:15 am to 6:45 pm with the entrance closed exactly at 6:00 pm. On weekends, its timing is 10:00 am to 6:45 pm in the day-time and 8.15 pm to 12:30 am in the night-time.

For its travel guide including all the details like pick & drop, stay, conveyance, meals, and if you want to check the other visitor’s reviews and there comments about the place, then Click Here. For buying online tickets and reservation for private events, please Click Here.

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