Stories of Maidens Tower

A tower in between two continents, Asia and Europe, a tower that has many stories to tell, many things that attracts people to know more about this majestic tower.


The History of the Tower


During the Byzantine Empire, Emperor Alesxius Commenus built the tower near a stone wall. Later on, the tower was connected through a defensive wall, when the Ottoman came to conquer Constantinople, during the conquest the tower was served as a garrison for the soldiers for the Byzantines. After the conquest of the city, the Ottomans used the tower as a watchtower and it was named Leander’s Tower in reference to the legend Hero and Leander.

The tower was destroyed due to an earthquake of 1509 and also burned in 1721. By the year 1832 the tower was restored by Sultan Mahmud II. In fact, this was not the latest restoration for the tower, it had one in 1998 for the filming of James Bond movie The World is Not Enough.


The Legends of the Tower

Maiden tower on Bosphorus in Istanbul

Many people believe that the tower was constructed for a daughter’s emperor, an emperor who loved his daughter so much. One day, a psychic told the emperor that his daughter will die because of a snake’s bite. He then thought of building the tower to keep her away from land to protect her from her early death. He ordered the tower to be built in the middle of the Bosphorus, after the construction of the tower, the princess put there she was occasionally been visited by her father. On her birthday she was gifted a basket full of fruits from her father, when she was reaching the basket, a hidden snake was inside the basket and bit the princess and she died as what the psychic has predicted.

The name Leander’s Tower actually comes from a different story. The ancient Greek myth of Hero and Leander, Leander was a young man from Abydos and Hero was a priestess of Aphrodite who lived in a tower at Sestos. Leander fell in love with hero and he would actually swim every night across the Hellespont to be with her.

There is also another story for the tower which is about Battal Ghazi and an Ottoman Governor’s daughter who was living in the tower. Battal Ghazi set up camp on the shore of the

Bosphorus just right of the Maiden’s tower after he failed to besiege Istanbul. The rumor says that the reason he stayed for seven years it was because he was in love with the daughter of Uskudar’s governor. Later on, the governor locked his daughter inside the tower away from Battal Ghazi. Battal Ghazi and his soldiers entered the tower and got away with the daughter alongside all the treasure hidden with her.


The Maiden’s tower is a very iconic part of the city of Istanbul. Many people are eager to learn more about this tower and what it hides inside it. You can go to the tower by using boats that sail off from Uskudar, (Uskudar is neighborhood in the Asian side famous for its wonderful bazaars and residential houses. Plenty of things to do in this district of the city, in addition to the maiden’s tower there is the Kucuksu Palace which was built by the Ottoman Sultans to go there on their vacations and rest and relieve all their stress from ruling the empire, they used to get there to hunt as well as resting on the shore of the magical Bosphorus. The Palace is noticeable also when you are cruising around in the Bosphorus and it is really famous and seen a lot in Turkish TV Shows and postcards.) going back the maiden’s tower, you can also sit there in the indoor restaurant and café which provides an amazing view and atmosphere for the people visiting the tower, alongside the themes of Roman, Byzantine, and the Ottoman Empires.

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