History of the Maiden’s Tower One Of The Symbols of Istanbul

Tens of civilizations existing in Istanbul left beautiful structures behind. These structures were used for different purposes over the years, added beauty to the silhouette of Istanbul. One of the most well-known of these constructions is the Maiden’s Tower. This structure, which has a history of nearly 2500 years, has witnessed every aspect of Istanbul. It has seen the ancient Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations and has come to our day. Here is the history of the Maiden’s Tower one of the symbols of Istanbul!


Maiden’s Tower BC

The Greek researcher Evridipis says that the place where the Maiden’s Tower is located in the part of the bulge that breaks from the Asian coast. In history, this rock is first mentioned in 410 BC. The Athenian commander Alkibiades had built a tower on the island in order to provide the Bosphorus inspection and tax. The island which is a kind of customs station and a chain stretched between Sarayburnu. In 341 BC, the Greek Commander Chares built a monumental marble tomb for his wife.


Maiden’s Tower in the Roman Period

In 1110 AD, Emperor Manuel Comnenos built two distinct towers for the defense of the city. One of these is near the Mangana Monastery on the coast of Topkapi Palace. The other one is the Maiden’s Tower. Manuel Comnenos had the same goal as the Athenian Commander Alkibiades. The aim is to control the Bosphorus and to take tax from the trade ships. In line with this, he also stretched the chain again.


Maiden’s Tower in the Byzantine Period

The tower was frequently destroyed and rebuilt. The fleet under the command of Gabriel Treviziano, who helped Byzantium during the conquest of Istanbul, is located here. So the islet has not lost its strategic position.


Maiden’s Tower in the Ottoman Period

After the conquest of Istanbul, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror destroyed the building and built a small castle with cannons. During the Ottoman period, it was used as a demonstration platform rather than a defense point. The artillery was shot for the Mehter, and the harmonica was played. When we look at the current Maiden’s Tower, it is alleged that the current form of the tower belong to this period. The Maiden’s Tower was frequently restored during the Ottoman period. The tower was severely damaged during the great earthquake of 1510 called ” Küçük Doomsday ” and was repaired during the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim. In the 17th century, a lighthouse was placed on the tower and used as a lighthouse. However, the cannons in the tower continued to be used. The sultans were greeted with artillery shot from the tower. In 1719, the tower was burnt as a cause of oil candle, and in 1725 it was repaired by the Chief Architect Nevşehirli Damat Ibrahim Pasha. In this repair, the lantern section is made of glass and stone, and the dome is made of lead. In 1731, the lantern and cannons were also repaired. When the Ottomans entered the period of collapse, the tower was set aside entertainment goals and continued to be used for defensive purposes. It was used as quarantine hospital in 1830- 1831 for the cholera epidemic. The tower took its current form in 1832- 1833 with the repair during the II Mahmud period.


The Maiden’s Tower in the Republican Period and Today

When we came to the Republic Period, the bad wooden parts of the tower were repaired during World War II, and some sections were demolished, and reinforced concrete was made. In 1943, along with a significant repair, rocks were placed around the islet. The purpose of this process is to prevent the tower from sliding to the sea. In 1959, the tower was connected to the Naval Forces Command, and the sea air traffic was inspected. The tower was left to the Maritime Operations in 1983, and until 1992 it became an intermediate station. The tower opened in 2000 with a café, continues to decorates Istanbul’s silhouette and host people.



  • David Morgan Friday November 20th, 2015 at 12:04 PM

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