Native name: Kiz Kulesi
Maiden's Tower is located on a small isle located in the Bosphorus strait off the coast of Uskudar. It resides in the point where Bosphorus meets Marmara Sea. A guard tower was built in this place by Emperor Manuel Komneos (1143-80) to be used as a customs station and traffic control office. A chain was being stretched from this tower to another tower near Saraybumu and thus blocking enemy ships from passing. A new tower was built by Mehmet the Conqueror after the conquest of Istanbul. That tower was then demolished in the earthquake of 1509 to be restored again at the order of Yavuz Sultan Selim (1512-20). The tower was then turned into a lighthouse for guiding ships after 16th century when the Ottoman Empire became powerful. The tower built in the reign of Yavuz was again destroyed in the fire of 1719. When renovated again between 1725-26, a glass kiosk was placed on it. The final current form of Maiden Tower was reached after the renovation made in the reign of Mahmut II (1808-39).
Maidens Tower can be reached by boats departing from Salacak, Ortakoy and in weekends Kabatas. In addition of the fascinating view of the tower, you can also sit and enjoy the mystical atmosphere there in its cafeteria which is open during daytime or its restaurant during nighttime.Legendary Origin of the Name (Maiden Tower)
Maiden's Tower is connected with many legends about its construction and its name. One very popular Turkish legend narrates that a sultan had a beloved daughter and an oracle prophetised that she die by a bite from a venomous snake on her 18th birthday. In order to thwart this prophecy, the sultan decided to place her away from land in order to keep her away from any snakes. He order the tower to be built in the middle of the Bosphorus in order to place his daughter there until after her 18th birthday. The princess was placed in the tower and only her father frequently visited her. On her 18th birthday, the sultan brought a basket of fruits as a birthday gift to her. The sultan was delighted then that he was able to prevent the prophecy, however, when the young princess came near to the basket, an asp which has been hiding amongst the fruits bitted her and she died in her father's arms. Thus, finally the oracle prophecy turned into truth, and hence the name Maiden's Tower has came.