Undoubtedly one of the indispensable views of the Bosphorus is the Maiden's Tower. Built on a tiny island off Salacak, this tower contains many legends. One of them is the legend of Leandros, which also gave the tower its name (Leander's Tower). The story of lovers who challenged the sea between them will end with the tragedy of Leandros and Hero. On a stormy night, when Leandros sees the light on the tower, he thinks his lover Hero is calling him and jumps into the sea. However, this time it is not the Hero who lights the light, but someone else who understands that the lovers meet secretly every night and turn off the light. Leandros is buried in the waves of the Bosphorus; Hero, who cannot stand the pain of this, ends his life by jumping from the tower. At the end of the legend, a lighthouse is built where the tower is in the name of the lovers. History M.O. The Maiden Tower, which dates back to 24 years, has been used as a defense fortress, exile station, prison, quarantine room, radio station, tax point, and lighthouse throughout its long history. The tower, which is the symbol of Uskudar, was restored by a private company in 2000 and was opened to service as a cafe and restaurant during the day.
In the Byzantine period, it is not known what kind of a facility is located on the small piece of land on which the Maiden's Tower is located. According to the historian Niketas Khoniates, emperor Manu-el Komnenos (1143-1180) built a small fortress called 'Hisarcık' here with the arc. Manuel, who built a tower in Mangana in Sarayburnu, pulled a chain between them and took control of the entrance and exit of the Bosphorus. According to legend, the drinking water of the Maiden's Tower was provided by a channel from the shore from the bottom of the sea. In addition, a wall was built between the land and the Maiden's Tower. Armenian writer Incici-yan writes that this wall was demolished during the Kanuni period (1520-1540) and that only the remains of the foundation were seen in stagnant weather. It is possible to see this wall trail today, to detect it by swimming.
According to the port of Istanbul, the Maiden Tower had been destroyed by the Ottoman Navy during the destruction or, as it said, on the Anatolian side, it had built fortified stays between the rash stone in the sea, and the balls ceased, as it was thrown, it would not stop the ship in the port. The rash was stony during the conquest. It is known that the Maiden Tower was rebuilt after the conquest, and it was turned into an element of Istanbul's defense, and balls were placed.
In the Constantinople plan made by Buondelmonte in 1420, the Maiden's Tower is shown as a castle sign. The Maiden Tower in Istanbul plan, built by Amyrutzen after 1453 at the order of Fatih, shows privilege from the date of 1420, which is proof that it was rebuilt by Fatih. It was shown as a castle in the landscape of Istanbul, printed by Vavessore in 1520. This castle is also mentioned in various Istanbul maps of Hünername and Piri Reis (died. 1954).
According to another rumor; The Byzantine Emperor Constantinus (578-582) had a very beautiful daughter. According to a priest's testimony, he would die from a snake bite. The monarch hides his daughter in a tower built in the middle of the sea. But she cannot prevent her daughter's fate. The serpent hiding in a basket of grapes sent to the tower sticks the girl and kills her.
According to another rumor; M. Ö. In 411, Üsküdar and its beaches were dominated by Persia. On the other hand, the Athenian Alkibiades built a customs station on this piece of rock and took the entrance and exit into the Bosphorus under his control. A 30-ship fleet of Athens also secured this station. After Athenian General Haris (Khares) settled in Üsküdar, his wife Damalis died there. Haris prepared a shrine for his wife. This mausoleum was on the hill above the Ayazma Mosque or in the place of the Maiden Tower. The nose in front of the hill was called Cape Damalis because of a cow sculpture placed on it in 340 BC. This cow was placed on a column. It is said to have been erected to show the tomb of Damalis.
The current shape of the tower is Sultan II. It was taken in the Mahmut period and in 1248 (1832-33). This place was used as a control station for some time by the quarantine organization established in the last years of this ruler. Its height is 35-36 m. The Maiden's Tower, placed on a bordered plane, is 18-21 m on both sides. It is a small castle of different sizes. There is a mansion with windows and balconies above the square plan sign of the built-in castle. The top of this polygonal mansion is covered with a sliced dome according to the wavy eaves and a flagpole rises in the middle. There is a portico carried by two columns in front of the sentence door facing the land side. Sultan II, bearing the signature of calligrapher Mustafa Rakım Efendi, is at the door and in a triangular frame. There is a medallion with a Mahmut monogram. The date of 1248 was written under tugra. Allom, Bartlett, and Mrs. Pardoe made beautiful engravings in the current form of the Maiden Tower.
The cannons in the Maiden's Tower were fired intermittently on the wooden exits of the Sultans, birth and circumcision ceremonies in Topkapı Palace, navy ceremony in the spring, and on feast days. Apart from that, it was the Fatih Law to play mehter music every night and until the morning, keeping the wives and women awake. Yusuf Kamil Pasha, the founder of Zeynep-Kamil Hospital, wanted to go to Egypt with the effect of a dream he had. But the political tension between the Ottoman Empire and Egypt at the time required that this journey be hidden. For this, Pasha moved from his mansion on the Ayazma beach in Üsküdar to the Maiden's Tower and moved to Egypt with a sail that he had decided before.
The Maiden Tower was last repaired in 1943 and large rocks were placed around it. It was recently rented to a holding for operation, and in 2000 it was restored to its original and perfectly restored. During this repair, pit holes were exposed on the ground floor. It is seen that those battlements overlook Bosphorus and Sarayburnu at an angle of 45 degrees from the front. This not only facilitates gun shooting but also allows more sunlight to enter.
During this restoration, some later sections were removed and the four corner towers were reinforced with iron rollers. Today, a restaurant on the ground floor. From here, you can go up with wooden stairs. Sales departments were built on the intermediate floors. The place with a balcony is the tea region. From here you can watch the beautiful view of Üsküdar, Bosphorus, and Istanbul with fixed binoculars.
The Maiden Tower is accessible by boat from Uskudar Salacak and Kabatas.
Daily shuttle service is available from Uskudar Salacak pier between 09.00-18.45, and only weekends from Kabatas between 09.00-18.45.