Maiden’s Tower has always been one of the most charming tourist attractions of Bosphorus. It is also a very beautiful subject with seagulls around it for many photographers.
Although the tower is being used as a restaurant nowadays, it has had many different functions throughout the history. Firstly used as a castle, it was used as a tower by Manuel Komnenos in the 12th century. He extended a chain to block the entrance between two towers. Then, the tower became a quarantina house in a cholera epidemic.
In the 5th century it was used as a customs house. Ottomans used it as a lighthouse and later a radar station in 1959 for its navy. It was even used as a place for exile.
The Maiden’s Tower has also had many legends about it. One of them is about a Byzantine Princess whose death was foreseen that she would be bitten by a snake. Learning that his daughter would be poisoned, the King sent her to the tower. However; the beloved princess was bitten by a snake that hid in a basket of apples that brought to the tower.
Another legend is about a young man named Leandros. According to the legend, Leandros used to swim accross the sea every night to reach his lover in the tower. One night the waves became unvisible because of a storm and Leandros drowned that night.
There is one other legend which is about an Athenian general who buried his wife- Damalis there. For this reason the tower was called as Damalis Tower as well.
The Maiden’s Tower has survived many earthquakes and fires like any other structure in Constantinople. and so went under many restorations. Today you can visit it every day and enjoy the beautiful view of the Marmara sea.