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Maiden’s Tower for Sunset

Maiden's Tower for Sunset

Maiden’s Tower is a former Ottoman watchtower where you can sit down to have an enthralling view of the sunset. It has numerous restaurants and cafes where you can have a scrumptious meal while enjoying the sunset view from your cozy seats.

You’ll have to take a boat ride to reach this tower as it is situated on the sea, but the experience that you get over makes the entire ride totally worth it.


It has been documented that in the place where the Maiden’s Tower is located today, in the year 1110 the emperor Alexios I Komnenos built a wooden tower surrounded by a stone wall which was joined to another building on the European side of Constantinople by a chain of iron. Also, this tower was connected to the Asian coast by means of a wall, whose remains can still be seen today.

Also known as Leander’s Tower on linking it to the legend of Hero and Leander, the building was destroyed by an earthquake in 1509. It was then rebuilt and later burnt down in 1721. Since then, it has been used as a lighthouse, although after 1829 the tower became a quarantine hospital, customs building, retirement home for Turkish officials, radio station and barracks. The last restoration the tower underwent was in 1998 in order to shoot the James Bond film The World is not Enough. After the earthquake in 1999, it was reinforced with steel to prevent the building from being damaged.


Location: Salacak, Uskudar Salacak Mevkii, 34668 Uskudar/Istanbul, Turkey

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At present, the Maiden’s Tower in Istanbul houses an unusual café which is on its upper level, and a restaurant on the first floor which affords some excellent skyline views of old Constantinople. There is also a gift shop. Visiting the tower, after arriving by ferry is a worthwhile plan for a getaway to Istanbul. Also, there are breathtaking 360-degree views from the tower of the city.

One interesting fact is the Maiden’s Tower appeared on the back of the banknotes for 10 Turkish liras which were in circulation between 1966 and 1981.

Legends of the Maiden’s Tower

There are many legends about the origin of the Maiden’s Tower in Istanbul. The most popular concerns an emperor who loved his daughter very much. An oracle predicted that she would die by a snakebite on her 18th birthday. In order to prevent the prophesy from coming true, the emperor built this tower in the middle of the Bosphorus to keep his daughter safe there. However, as they were celebrating her 18th birthday, the emperor himself gave her a basket of exotic fruits to celebrate the fact that he had been able to break the prophesy. However, when she reached into the basket, a small snake, which had been hiding among the fruit, bit the princess who died in the arms of her father.

The origin of the name of Leander’s Tower in Istanbul comes from another legend. Here, it is linked to the Greek myth of Hero and Leander. Hero was one of Aphrodite’s priestesses who lived in a tower in the Dardanelles and Leander was a young man who fell head over heels in love with her and every night crossed the sea to be with his love. To guide him better, Hero lit a lamp in the tower every night. Their love lasted the whole summer, but when winter arrived a storm came and the wind blew out the light of the tower. As a result, the young man got lost and drowned. When Hero found out what had happened, heartbroken with grief, she committed suicide by throwing herself off the tower.

Ferry to the tower

From the port of Istanbul, a ferry goes to the Maiden’s Tower and the crossing takes just a few minutes. The boat trip there each way is very cheap. There are also many private companies which provide vessels for tourists, and for a reasonable fee, stop at the Maiden’s Tower.


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