The Maidens Tower has been a source of inspiration for artists, poets, and writers for centuries. The Maidens Tower, the pearl of the Bosphorus, has also graced the lines of Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu. "When I think of Istanbul, I think of towers Whenever I paint one, the other gets jealous But if the Maidens Tower had a mind It would go to the Galata Tower And have a lot of children...
In the 5th century BC, the islet where the Maidens Tower is located today served as a customs point for the inspection and taxation of ships coming from the Black Sea. In the 12th century, the Maidens Tower was rebuilt as a tower by Emperor Manuel I Komnenos of the Eastern Roman Empire to strengthen the defense. It was used to control the entry and exit of the Bosphorus.
After the conquest of Istanbul, a new fortress was built by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and a guard unit was stationed there. Night guards were held accompanied by a mehter band, and cannon shots were fired from here during the accession ceremonies of the sultans on holidays. Over time, the Maidens Tower gained new functions and a lighthouse was added to the north section to guide ships at night.
The tower was converted into a quarantine hospital in 1830-1831 to prevent the cholera epidemic and was later used as an isolation center during the plague epidemic in 1836-1837. The historical structure, which has been used for many different purposes over time, hosted passengers and patients who were quarantined due to the cholera outbreak in Trabzon in 1847. In 1857, the lighthouse of the tower was reorganized and transferred to the Lighthouse Administration. The Maidens Tower, which was used as a radar station for a while in 1959, was also used for the safety of maritime transportation. The historical structure, which was turned into an observation and radar station affiliated to the Ministry of National Defense in 1964, has been used for tourism purposes since 1983.
According to the most common legend about the Maidens Tower, which is one of the most important historical structures in Istanbul; On a stormy night, when Leondros sees a light on the tower, he thinks that his lover Hero is calling him and jumps into the sea. However, this time it was not Hero who lit the light, but someone else who realized that the lovers were secretly meeting every night and extinguished the light. Leondros is buried in the waves of the Bosphorus; Hero, who could not bear the pain, throws herself off the tower and takes her own life. At the end of the legend, a lighthouse is built in the place of the tower in the name of the lovers.