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Maiden's Tower:
Elegant Icon of Istanbul

Maiden's Tower, undoubtedly, is one of the indispensable views of the Bosphorus. This tower is a symbol of love and elegance in Istanbul called by names such as Damalis and Leandros at the time. It inspires those who want to have a romantic activity in Istanbul.

Maiden's Tower historical building, constructed on a small island of Salacak. It is open to local and foreign tourists every day of the week with the Maiden's Tower Kuledebar, on the upper floor. You can visit this magnificent Tower with your loved ones for special day events. Or you can have a trip to the Tower to enjoy the pleasure of living in the atmosphere of the old times.


Where is the Maiden's Tower?


The Maiden's Tower is situated in Istanbul. The Tower, constructed on a small island off Salacak, in the Uskudar region, is taking place on the Bosphorus.



How to Get to the Maiden's Tower?


You can join boat trips via Uskudar and Kabatas to go to the Maiden's Tower. The Tower services from Uskudar go in every 15 minutes from 09.15 to 18.30. Kabatas-Maiden's Tower trips are organized every hour from 10.00 to 18.00 on weekends.



Short Information about Maiden's Tower


The history of the Maiden's Tower goes back to the times before Christ. When you take a look at the historical evidence, there are information that the tower was first mentioned in 410 before Christ.

It is constructed by Alkibiades of Athens, was used to control ships passing over the Bosphorus and to collect taxes.

When Istanbul came under Roman rule, the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Komnenos (I. Manuil) renewal the construction with stones, designed it as a full tower and turned it into a defense building. The tower, which was reestablished once again during the Ottoman period, witnessed the performances of the mehter team.


This Tower, which has been destroyed and renovated many times throughout its history, serves as a cafe, museum and restaurant that can be visited off Salacak in Uskudar.





Secrets of the Maiden Tower: Mysterious and Romantic



  1. In 341 befor Chirst, the Greek Chares constructed a marmoreal sarcophagus for his wife on the site of the tower. Damalis, one of the old names of the Maiden's Tower, comes from here. Damalis was the name of Chares' wife.
  2. In the 12th century, the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Komnenos built two towers for preventing the enemy to enter to this region.  One of them was taking place in the Mangana Monastery, that is, on the coast of today's Topkapi Palace, and the other on the Uskudar coast. Where the Tower is situated today.
  3. During the conquest of Istanbul, the Venetians used the Maiden’s tower as a base and helped the Byzantines.
  4. After the conquered of Istanbul, Fatih Sultan Mehmet transformed this tower into a castle and placed cannons on all sides of it.
  5. Due to the strong defense of the Bosphorus, this tower was not needed much and over time it became an exhibition center.
  6. The Madian’s Tower was also used as a quarantine room and a detention colony.
  7.   The pervious names of the Maiden's Tower can be enumerated as follow: Arkla, Damalis and Leandros's Tower.




Maiden's Tower and Story Legends


When the issue is one of the most mysterious towers of most important cities in history, many legends unavoidably come along. This is what happened to the Maiden's Tower. Here are some of these legends.



The Legend of Immortal Love of Leandros


It is said that there was one of the Aphrodite temples at the place where the tower is taking place today and a priestess named Hero lived here.

 A young man named Leandros fell in love with the priestess. He was swimming every day from the opposite shore to the island where the Maiden’s Tower is located. Hero, was lighting a bonfire on the island so that the Leandros wouldn't lose his way.

 On a stormy day, the bonfire burns out, Leandros lost his way while swimming and drowned. Hero, who heard that her only love died, could not stand it and committed suicide. The original of this story is based on the Dardanelles Strait. Leandros was actually swimming from Abydos (Eceabat) to Sestus (Canakkale).



The Legend of Snake in Maiden's Tower




According to the first legend, the daughter of one of the Byzantine kings were born and a prediction was made about the girl. The princess was about to die at the age of 18 being bitten by a snake. Hearing this, the king rebuilt the tower on the island in the middle of the sea and made it a space where the princess could live without any risk. When the princess was 18, the snake hiding in a basket of grapes brought by the servants or a flower basket brought by a young man who fell in love with the princess reached the Maiden's Tower and caused the death of the princess.


The Battalgazi Legend


Another legend known about the Tower is: Battal Gazi fell in love with the daughter of Uskudar Tekfur a Christian ruler during the Seljuk period. The landlord who was against this love imprisoned her daughter in the Maiden's Tower. But who can keep Battal Gazi? After a rescue adventure, Battalgazi attacks the tower, takes his love, and rides away very quickly with his horse.


The Greek Leader's Pain


When Istanbul was under the rule of the Athenians in ancient Greek times, an admiral named Chares or a king named Kharis came to the city. The wife of this king, who was sent against the threat of Macedonian King I. Philip, passed away in Istanbul. Admiral Chares / Kharis was very sad and had a legendary mausoleum built in the place we know today as the Maiden's Tower.



Fascinating Facts about the Maiden's Tower



1.            Regardless of the records available, it is unknown that who is the architect of the tower or who actually built the Maiden's Tower.

2.            The first name of the tower is called Arkla or Arcla, which means "little castle".

3.            After the conquest of Istanbul, the Tower was destroyed and a wooden model was built in its place. This wooden tower was also demolished in a fire in 1719, according to the records.

4.            One of the Ottoman architects, son in law  Ibrahim Pasha from Nevsehir planned the stone version of the Maiden's Tower. Calligraphy in the tower was drawn by Calligrapher Rakim Efendi in 1857.

5.            The tower was used as a quarantine point through the cholera outbreak in 1830.

6.            Later on the Tower is used as a radio station.

7.            The Tower serve to the Ministry of Defense in 1964. In 1982, to Maritime Operations. After this date, the tower was rented for 49 years.

8.            The Tower has a special part that serves as a restaurant and wedding house today.



Visiting Hours of Maiden’s Tower & Admissions


The museum section of Maiden’s Tower serves every day from 09:00 to 19:00.But you should have reservations for dinners, special events, weddings and organizations. The Ticket price of entrance to Museum is 30 TL at the counter at the location.




How to Go To Maiden's Tower?


The Maiden's Tower is located at the entrance of the Bosphorus, at the sea in island of Salacak, and on the shores of Uskudar approximately 150-200 meters.

The most feasible way to reach the Tower is to go with the Maiden's Tower Boat Service from Kabatas pier and Uskudar Salacak Pier.

To go to Kabatas, take the tram from Sultanahmet. If you are going to come from Taksim, take the funicular from Taksim Square to Kabatas.

If you are going from Besiktas to Uskudar you can go with public ferries or boats.

From Sultanahmet and Eminonu to Sirkeci by taking the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line), and after that from Sirkeci through Marmaray or by public ferries from Eminonu to Uskudar.

To go from Uskudar to Salacak pier, take a 5-minute public bus or a taxi or walk about 1.8 kilometers after the shore.


Maiden’s Tower Boat Services


There are boat shuttle services from Kabataş pier only on weekends and Salacak coast very proximate to the tower.

Boat departures from Kabatas to the Tower: Ring service in every weekends from 10:00 to 18:00.

Salacak island boat departures to the Maiden's Tower: Ring service every 15 minutes from 09: 15 to 18: 30