MAIDEN'S TOWER or known as LEANDER TOWER : ( Turk call KIZ KULESI )
Maiden's Tower (KIZ KULESI) is one of the romantic symbol of Istanbul. It constructed first in the
12th century and present building get dates from 18th century.
KIZ KULESI is on
a tiny-tiny bit islet at the entrance to Istanbul Harbor on Bosphorus. Islet's nearest
land point is Istanbul's Uskudar district at Asian side of the city, near Marmara Sea. This tower is part of famous Istanbul silhoutte and it catches everyone's eyes passing through Bosphorus by boat.
miniature tower has been in service as a lighthouse, a watchtower, a traffic control
center and a prison in its lifetime and after it's restoration now it is open as a
several flats tower for tourist attraction... an observation terrace, gift store, a small
Bosphorus Museum, tea/coffee house and restaurant.
During the day, the restaurant on the ground floor has breakfast and lunch menus with above average prices. They serve a variety of world foods and traditional Turkish favorites. By evening, the restaurant offers an extravagant and pricey four-course choice menu. Reservations are required.
The bar at the top of the tower serves hot and cold drinks, beer, wine, and cocktails, along with a cheese plate and snacks, at club prices. Reservations are also required.
HOW TO GET THERE ? Maiden's Tower (KIZ KULESI) is in SALACAK neighborhood , west of USKUDAR, about 15 minutes by walking. From the European side, take the ferry to USKUDAR, of from the Asian side, take a dolmus or bus there and head west along the seaside a several blocks (about 15 minutes by walking) until you see the tower. Alternatively, you can take a dolmus or taxi, but because of long term work on a subway here, traffic is almost always terrible and it will be faster to walk. Once you see the tower, wait at the ticket booth for the next shuttle boat. They usually run every 15 minutes or so.
From Istanbul's KABATAS district (near BESIKTAS), in every evening in summer, between 8:00-9:15 pm, there is special boat service for KIZ KULESI. This service is free of charge for both way for evening patrons. Check this before you go.
PLEASE KEEP READING... There are many legends about this
prominent symbols of Istanbul, that reflects the traces of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman
According to the most famous story of KIZ KULESI, Constantine,
one of the Byzantine emperors had a beautiful daughter whom he loved dearly. The
soothsayers said that the girl would one day be bitten by a snake and die.
To protect his daughter the emperor commissioned a tower to be constructed on the
small island where Kiz Kulesi stands now and sent his daughter there. But the girl
was killed by a snake which came to the small island in a grape basket.
According to another well-known story Manuel Commene (1143-1180), one of the
Byzantine emperors, got angry when he learned that his daughter named Leander had
a love affair and he commissioned this tower to be constructed and closed the girl in it.
After this the tower was called the LEANDER TOWER.
Apart from these stories there is some factual evidence about the tower such as the fact
that Byzantines used the tower as a prison from time to time, made it a station to collect
customs duties from the ships and showed way to the ships with the tower's lanterns.
The Turkish people's interest in the tower started when the negotiations between
Sultan Orhan Gazi (1281-1362) and Byzantine Emperor John Cantacuzenus took
place at Kiz Kulesi.
When the Turks conquered Istanbul, they saw immediate
work need to be done at this please. The tower was made of wood, was repaired
completely. But later the tower get burned in a fire, when it was on duty lighting the
way for ships. Then during time of Sultan Ahmet the 3rd, a stone tower was
replaced by his assistant Nevsehirli Damat Ibrahim Pacha in 1719.
KIZ KULESI was also used as a prison for inmates by the Ottoman Turks. It was
then left for a while then again it get restored by the Denizcilik Bank (Turkish
Marinary Bank) and used fir these organizations time to time lighthouse/Observation
The Maiden Tower has been also been used in popular films and television, appearing most recently in the 2007 film "Hitman". It was also used in the James Bond film "The World is Not Enough" and featured on "The Amazing Race" television show.
D I D Y O U K N O W ?
MEERSCHAUM (in Turkish LULETASI) is a mineral substance found only in Turkey, from which pipes and ornaments have been hand-carved since the 1700's.
Meerschaum, contrary to popular belief, is not the fossilized remains of sea
creatures, but a mineral of Hydrous Magnesium Silicate. It is found from 30 to 450 feet
below the surface of the earth near the town of ESKISEHIR.
Meerschaum’s magnesium content provides strength while the hydrogen and oxygen
contribute porosity. As one of nature’s lightest and most porous substances, Meerschaum
is a natural filter. This natural absorbency causes the pipe to slowly change color,
eventually turning rich brown color, filtering the nicotine. As few Turks smoke pipes so
they are made mostly for tourist and export.
You'll find the Turkish Cuisine is one of the finest in the
Meals usually begin with meze, cold appetizers of an infinite variety in small
plates which get place in taverns (call 'Meyhane' in Turkish), one top of the other one... and proceed to a meat or fish course, which you choose either right in the kitchen or/and from offerings
brought to table or menu.
You can eat fish everywhere in Istanbul but some of the best
fish are found in charming little restaurants along the Bosphorus... some luxurious
restaurants in BEBEK and SARIYER for example, but the streets around the KUMKAPI fish
market are also packed with dining spots as well as a rollicking music-filled scene.
Enjoy! Read more
on Turkish Cuisine