There are so many famous towers around the world, especially in the cities like New York or Paris, which have been a scene to great photos we take each and every day. However, there are still more to explore and waiting to be visited, even some that you have never heard before. One possibility is the Maiden’s Tower, located in its own small islet in the Marmara Sea close to Üsküdar seashore.
The tower is believed to be built around 24 B.C. during the rule of the Byzantium empire. Some European historians call the tower “Leander Tower” by its Greek myth origins. After the Byzantines ceased to control, the Maiden’s Tower was in authority of the Ottoman Empire. It was restored for its current appearance with the reconstruction of its base and form. When it was first established, the tower was used as a burial place followed by a customs station to control transit vessels carrying import goods, and years later, it was a place with many functions.
One of the most known hearsays about the tower is Ovidius Legend. According to the story, there was a temple devoted to Aphrodite, the famous Greek goddess of love and beauty. Every year during springtime, people who could not find the love of their life would come there and plead with Aphrodite to make them find true love.
When a nun called “Hero” was attending the ceremony in the islet where the Maiden Tower is now, she meets eyes with Leandros, a man who was also there to make his wishes to Aphrodite, and they instantly fell in love. But the fact that Hero is a nun makes it impossible for them to be together because it was strictly forbidden for nuns to marry or have someone in their life.
One night when Leandros was looking through the tower, he sees a fire burning on top of it. Hero set the fire as a sign for Leandros to follow her there. In the end, Leandros jumps in the water to swim into the tower, and they meet secretly every night until one day of appalling storms, the torch Hero lit dies away quickly. Trapped in the darkness, Leandros can not find his way and drowns in the sea. The realization of his absence afflicts Hero deeply, and she lets herself into the cold water. For this reason, this is a story of two lovers whose devotion to each other is truly dramatic.
You can visit the tower between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. by using different expeditions from Salacak or Kabataş pier on weekends. The ticket price to tour the tower is currently 40 liras for adults and 20 liras for students. You can also make a reservation to eat inside where a nice restaurant is situated. As a note, there is an exclusive pick-up service for customers with reservations.