Maiden’s Tower Istanbul: what to see, tickets, visiting tips

A tower situated between two continents, Asia and Europe, a tower with many stories to tell, many things that entice visitors to learn more about this magnificent structure. The Maiden’s Tower is probably one of the most world-renowned and historical sights of Istanbul. A must-see place for travelers coming to Istanbul.

During the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods, the island was used for surveillance and base purposes, as well as various towers were built. The building, which was used by the military to control maritime traffic during the Republican period, has undergone various renovations. Today, it serves as a restaurant and museum for its visitors upon its restoration process. Various events are also held at the tower.

Quick History

It is estimated that the tower was built 2500 years ago. The rocks on which the tower is located were first mentioned in 410 BC. It is also stated that the rocky place was used by the Athenians to control the ship traffic in the strait.

Emperor Alexius Commenus erected the tower besides a stone wall during the Byzantine Empire. Later, the tower was linked by a defensive wall when the Ottomans arrived to seize Constantinople; the tower functioned as a garrison for the Byzantine soldiers during the invasion. Following the city’s takeover, the Ottomans utilized the tower as a watchtower and dubbed it Leander’s Tower after the legend of Hero and Leander.

The tower was wrecked by an earthquake in 1509 and then burnt down in 1721. Sultan Mahmud II renovated the tower in the year 1832. In truth, this was not the tower’s first restoration; it received one in 1998 for the filming of James Bond’s The World Is Not Enough.

Many people say the tower was built for a daughter’s Emperor, a monarch who adored his daughter. A clairvoyant once warned the Emperor that his daughter would die due to a snake bite. He then considered erecting a tower to keep her away from land and therefore preserve her from an early death. He had the tower erected in the middle of the Bosphorus, and once it was completed, the princess had it placed there, where she was periodically visited.

On her birthday, her father gave her a hamper full of fruits; however, when she approached the basket, a concealed snake within the basket bit the princess, and she died as prophesied by the psychic.

Maiden’s Tower in istanbul night, Lon exposure.

The name Leander’s Tower is derived from a separate myth. In the Greek story of Hero and Leander, Leander was a young man from Abydos, and Hero was an Aphrodite priestess who dwelt in a tower in Sestos. Leander fell in love with the Hero and would swim across the Hellespont every night to be with her.

Another tale concerning the tower is about Battal Ghazi and an Ottoman Governor’s daughter who lived in the tower. After failing to invade Istanbul, Battal Ghazi pitched his camp on the Bosphorus’s coast, just to the right of the Maiden’s Tower.

According to myth, he stayed for seven years because he was in love with Uskudar’s governor’s daughter. Later, the governor imprisoned his daughter within the tower to keep her safe from Battal Ghazi. Battal Ghazi and his warriors stormed the tower and escaped with the daughter and all the riches she had secreted with her.

Visiting Maiden’s Tower Tips

The Maiden’s Tower is a well-known structure in Istanbul. Many people are curious about this structure and what it conceals within it. You may get to the tower by taking a boat from Uskudar Salacak, a district on the Asian side known for its excellent bazaars and residential residences.

A glass of Turkish tea and bagel against Maidens Tower on sea in Istanbul, Turkey

You can also relax in the inside restaurant and café of the Maiden’s Tower, which gives a beautiful view and ambiance for visitors and themes from the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires.

You can have a great day out at the Kuledebar Cafe of the tower. Located at the top of the tower with a balcony, you can also enjoy the panoramic views of the city. Breakfast is also available at Maiden’s Tower. It typically starts at 09:00am and ends at 13:00 pm.

For lunch and dinner, you can have your lunch at the main restaurant situated under the Maiden’s tower. It starts at 12:00 pm. Dinners are also very popular at the Maiden’s Tower restaurant and service starts at 20:15 pm with fix rate menus.

There are also plenty of things to do in this area of the city, in addition to the maiden’s tower. The Ottoman Sultans built the Kucuksu Palace to go there on their vacations and rest and help ease all their pressure from governing the empire; they used to get there to hunt and rest on the shore of the shore mesmerizing Bosphorus. The Palace may also be viewed when navigating the Bosphorus.

Hours and Fees

Maiden’s Tower is open every day between 09:00 and 19:00. But it is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Reservation is needed for dinners, special events, weddings and organizations.

Ticket Options

  • Entrance to Maiden’s Tower museum section is 30 TL
  • Cross check hours and admissions from

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