Maiden’s Tower Istanbul (2024 Guide with Boats, Tickets)

The Maiden’s Tower (Kiz Kulesi in Turkish) is a fantastic tower located on an islet on the sea at the entrance of the Bosphorus, along Uskudar coasts in Istanbul. Also known as the Leandros, is the one of the most popular landmarks and monuments of the city.

Istanbul’s gem, the Maiden’s Tower, has reopened its eyes. you can enjoy the nightly light and laser show, taking place every evening at 21:00.

 

Restored to its original glory by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, the Maiden’s Tower has undergone over two years of meticulous work, strengthened with the contributions of expert names to ensure it remains a legacy for future generations.

 

Now open as a monument, the Maiden’s Tower invites you to gaze upon Istanbul through its eyes.

Maiden’s Tower Ticket Prices

Types of TicketPrice
Entrance Fee500 TL (around €15,5) per person
Boat Transport Ticket50 TL (around €1,5) per person

Maiden’s Tower Transportation

Boats depart fromSchedule (every day)
Galataport Pierbetween 09:00 am. and 17:30 pm.
Uskudar-Salacak Pier11.00, 12.30, 14.15, 15.30, 17.00 (*)

* The boat departing at 17:00 will not go back to the Galataport

History of Maiden’s Tower

According to the historians, a land piece has been detached from the from the Asian coasts and an islet was formed. And it is believed that a tower the Athenian commander Alkibiades built a tower on this islet around 340 B.C. to control the ships, and collect taxes, at the entrance of the Bosphorus.


maiden's tower

A monumental tomb on marble columns was built in 341 B.C., by the Greek Commander Chares on the islet, for his wife.

During the Roman period in 1110s, the first distinctive tower on the islet was built by Emperor Manuel Comnenos. During the years 1143 and 1178, two towers was built by the Emperor Manuel to defend the city. One of them was on the islet, and the other was was on the beach area of the Topkapi Palace. And there had been a chain tied between the two towers to prevent enemy ships enter the Bosphorus, and merchant ships passing without tax.

During the Byzantium period, the tower on the islet had been ruined and repaired from time to time, and used as a base by the Venetians during the conquest of Istanbul. It had been a base for the fleet from Venice to help Byzantine while Fatih Sultan Mehmed was invading the city.

After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, Fatih Sultan Mehmed demolished the small castle here and built a new small castle that was made of stone and placed cannons.

The foundations of today’s Maiden’s tower are from the Fatih Sultan Mehmed period. It is also known that the tower had been repaired or reconstructed during the Ottoman period.

In the 17th century, a lighthouse has been placed on the islet due to the shallow waters around. And it started to serve as a lighthouse since then.



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In the years 1830-1831, the tower had turned into a quarantine hospital due to cholera to prevent the plague not spread into the city. Later in the years 1836-1837, about 30 thousand people died from a plague, and some of the patients had been isolated in a small hospital that was established here on the islet.

maiden's tower at night

Maiden’s Tower has gained its present shape in the style of Ottoman-baroque architecture after the big restoration in 1833. And a new lighthouse was built in 1857 by a French company.

The tower today serves as a monument and museum upon the latest restoration in 2023.

Maiden’s Tower also has three legends coming from the ancient Greek, Byzantium and Ottomans era.

The Legend of Leandros

A young man named Leandros falls in love with a nun named Hero who is faithful to Aphrodite. However, as a nun, falling in love with someone was a taboo. Hero was living in the tower, and she was lighting a bonfire every night to let Leandros find his way to her by swimming to the tower.

They were meeting every night until one night the bonfire burns out by a storm and Leandros losts his way in the waters and dies. And after she commits suicide.

The Princess Legend

Once upon a time, an oracle makes a prophecy to the King that his daughter will die due to a snakebite. Upon hearing this, the King builds a castle on the sea to protect his daughter from snakes.

Time passes and the girl grows up in the castle. However, the prophecy inevitably comes true. A snake inside a fruit basket that was carried to the princess, bites and kills her.


The Battalgazi Legend

A man named Battalgazi falls in love with the daughter of Tekfur, a Christian ruler. Tekfur didn’t want his daughter to be with Battalgazi and he puts her in the tower to protect her. Later on, Battalgazi attacks the tower, takes the girl, rides away very quickly with his horse. The famous Turkish expression of “he who takes the horse got by Usküdar” comes from this legend.

Visiting Tips

Why is Maiden’s Tower famous?

Located on the Bosphorus, the Maiden’s Tower is well-known for the spectacular views of Istanbul it provides as well as its storied past and urban folklore. Legend has it that the Byzantine emperor found out his beloved daughter will die from a snakebite after hearing a prophesy. On a little island, he had this fortress built to keep her safe.

Tragically, a serpent lurking in a fruit basket bit her against her will. The tower has seen several transformations throughout the years, from a fortified outpost to a quarantine facility. Guests may get a feel for the building’s fascinating history while taking in breathtaking views of Istanbul from this renowned landmark.

Is Maiden’s Tower worth it?

Those interested in a rare combination of history and magnificent vistas will find the Maiden’s Tower to be an absolutely worthwhile destination. The tower’s atmosphere is part of its allure, especially in the evening when the city lights sparkle all around.

Is there a dress code for Maiden’s Tower?

Maiden’s Tower doesn’t have a strict dress code, but it’s best to wear clothes that are easy to move around in case you want to spend some time visiting the site. If you want to know what to wear in Istanbul, you should check the weather report first.

How long do you spend at the Maiden’s Tower?

Your time at Maiden’s Tower will depend on what you’re interested in and how long you want to spend looking at the views and learning about its past. Some tourists think that two hours is enough time, while others might want to stay longer to enjoy the atmosphere and views.

How to get tickets for Maiden’s Tower?

Most of the time, you can buy tickets for Maiden’s Tower online or at the venue itself. There may be a fee to get in, but most people think it’s worth it because of the tower’s historical importance and beautiful settings.

Can you enter the Maiden’s Tower for free?

You can’t get into the Maiden’s Tower for free, which is a shame. The small fee to get in is well worth it for the magical trip through its history and the stunning views it provides.

What time should I visit the Maiden’s Tower?

There is no one right time to visit Maiden’s Tower; it depends on the person. Some people like going during the day to see the building, while others like going in the evening for a romantic atmosphere and to see the city lights. Sunset is sometimes a very beautiful time.

Do you need a tour guide for Maiden’s Tower?

You don’t need a tour guide to see Maiden’s Tower, but having one can help you learn more about the tower’s past and meaning. Guides give interesting information about the myths and tales that have made the place what it is, which makes the visit more interesting and educational.

Visiting Hours & Admissions

Opening Hours

Maiden’s Tower is open every day between 09:00-18:00.

How to Get to Maiden’s Tower?

Location

The Maiden’s Tower is situated about 150-200 meters across the Uskudar coasts, on the sea at the Salacak region, at entrance of the Bosphorus. See the location map

Transportation

The Maiden’s Tower is easily accessible through private boat rides originating from the Üsküdar-Salacak and Galataport piers.

Uskudar-Salacak pier

Boats depart right in front of the Maiden’s Tower ticket office, welcoming passengers from 09:00 to 17:30 every day of the week.

Galataport pier

Boat schedule from the Galataport Istanbul to the Maiden’s Tower as follows:

  • 11:00
  • 12:30
  • 14:15
  • 15:30
  • 17:00

A special note: The boat scheduled for departure at 17:00 takes a one-way journey and does not return to the Galataport.

Contact Details

Address: Salacak, Uskudar, Istanbul
Web: kizkulesi.gov.tr


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