Maiden’s Tower Legend and History
The Greeks established the Maiden’s Tower in the 5th century BC near the Üsküdar Salacak coast of the Bosphorus. It is the only architectural work from the Roman Empire in Üsküdar. It has used for different purposes throughout history, and many narrations have produced about it. At its history and then its legends.
Haldun Hürel states that the word “sala” used in the meaning of the village based on his researches. Salacak, on the other hand, derives from “saddlery,” meaning small town – a cute town. So it was probably a small village in the past. Maiden Tower mostly reached from this village, just like today.
Rocks in the Ancient Period
The Maiden Tower mentioned for the first time in 400 BC. As far as is known, it established as a customs point for maritime trade. The Quran is an Athenian commander. Athens was an essential and dominant Greek city-state in the region at that time. It is a known fact that this little rock has been carrying out this task for centuries. Also, a legend associated with this, I will explain below.
However, it is worth mentioning that the Maiden’s Tower is an Istanbul work that has a lot of rumors and rumors but has minimal knowledge. I state this for; some historians claim that this place built as a breaker. Of course, the most current information is the first narrative I wrote above.
Maiden’s Tower in the Roman Period
Centuries later, after Byzantion became Constantinople, the first tower was erected here. According to Roman historians, the person who built this first tower was Emperor Manuel Komnenos (1143 – 1180) from the dynasty of Komnenos, an essential family in Roman history. In some sources, the construction date of the tower is called 1110, but this coincides with the Alexios Komnenos period, which historians who describe his period never mention the Maiden Tower.
There were two reasons Emperor Manuel built this tower: to control the Bosphorus and to take taxes from merchant ships. Written that a thick chain is drawn between the tower and the European coast, and dozens of rafts used to prevent the chain from sinking. In one narrative, it said that the first tower could not lift the weight of the chain and collapsed despite all efforts.
I said to keep the throat under control, but let me remind you; The Maiden’s Tower did not play an essential role during the conquest of Istanbul. Only a small command of a Venetian commander strengthened. For the Roman finances that had destroyed for the last few centuries caused the tower to lose importance. For this reason, that famous chain was drawn to the Golden Horn in 1453.
During the Roman period, the tower used as a place of exile and isolation from time to time, just in the Ottomans. The Romans living in the city told many stories about the tower and derived legends. They even gave the tower names according to these stories from time to time. I will mention these below.
Maiden’s Tower in the Ottoman Empire
The Ottomans owned the Maiden Tower as an “empire.” So as he approaches the climax of his power! Therefore, neither Fatih Sultan Mehmet Han nor the other sultans, who conquered the city, used this place for defense purposes. There wasn’t any need while there were Rumeli and Anadolu Hisar’s already.
The historians of the Fatih era write that a new tower was built here under the command of the sultan. I could not find out exactly what it used. Probably he should have done the duty as customs tower again. This tower damaged in the 1509 earthquake, which I sometimes remind of in my other writings and which Istanbul residents call “Little Apocalypse.” It repaired by Hayrettin, the famous architect of the period, which also fixed many works. About 200 years from now, it started toused as a sea flashlight. It burned and burned due to the oil lamp used in this time. The new tower, which built in its place, was built in masonry.
The Maiden’s Tower also used for ball shooting at various religious and diplomatic ceremonies. Some Sultans used this place as a cruise or recreation area. According to a story, Sultan Abdulhamit I was almost here in the morning with the sounds of wind and waves. On the other hand, Mahmut 1 executed a Darussade lord who claimed to have received a bribe in the Maiden’s Tower.
The most exciting task of the Maiden’s Tower for me was to use it for the isolation of patients during a plague epidemic spread in Istanbul in the 19th century.
Republic and Maiden’s Tower
The establishment of the Republic of Turkey began to be used again as a lighthouse tower just before. The ground strengthened in the 1940s. It served as a military radar station in the early 1980s.
A private company now operates it as a venue and restaurant. Travels to the island where the tower located are subject to a fee: Full 20 TL students are 10 TL. Visit hours are between 9:00 am and 6:45 pm every day from Salacak beach.
Maiden’s Tower Legends
As I mentioned above, Kuz Tower is perhaps one of the most legendary Istanbul works. Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans told legends separately and gave names to the tower according to these stories.
For example, Greeks called this Damalis Tower. The reason was, as I wrote at the beginning, the Athenians were at that time. King Hares of Athens had a beautiful wife. When he died because he loved Salacak beach, he buried him here. For this reason, the Greeks called the Damalis beach and the tower the Damalis tower. Even if it is true, Queen Damalis had a statue in the rocks.
There is a love legend dedicated to the Maiden’s Tower, which I will not mention below. I told this story in my article called Historical Galata District and Galata Tower.
Legend of Hero and Leandros
The Hero is one of Aphrodite’s nuns, who is described as the goddess of love and beauty in Greek mythology and works in the Maiden’s Tower. She is forbidden to love because she is a nun and has no relationship with men.
One day he crosses the tower from where he stayed for years for a ceremony.
There he meets another priest named Leandros and falls in love with him at first sight. Reverend Leandros has the same feelings. The only way they can achieve is by Leandros crossing the cold and flowing waters of the throat at night. The story of the couple, who has been in love for a while in a while, ends in a windy night when the lantern he lights lead Hero’s lover goes out.
Leandros, who lost his way in the dark, drowns. According to the legend, Sister Hero, who witnessed this situation with his eyes, can not stand the pain he suffers and ends his life by leaving himself in the waters of the throat. Based on this legend, the Romans called it the Leandros Tower.
Legend of Poisonous Snake in the Basket
Another Maiden’s Tower legend tells of the venomous snake that came to the tower with the basket. However, this legend has both Greek-Romanian and Turkish derivatives. Let’s explain chronologically.
Maiden’s Tower – Ottoman State
In ancient times, a Roman emperor said to have died by fortune tellers. She also places it on the Maiden’s Tower to protect her queen. He does not allow anyone other than himself and private servants to enter his side.
Nevertheless, he cannot avoid fate, and the snake coming out of the basket of food sent to the queen kills him there.
According to this story, one of the Seljuk Sultans, in his dream, sees that his beloved daughter will be bitten by a snake and die. The sultan, who takes the occasion, places his daughter in the tower. He doesn’t let anyone in and out of the tower, including himself. Even water and milk poured into the islet with individual pipes.
Then years later, the sultan got sick. The young girl barely cured by the best-known physician ever. On top of that, gifts from many different places sultan; among them, there is a basket of grapes. The snake, hidden in the grape basket, poisoned the sultan that night, causing her death.
Legend of Battal Veteran
Another Turkish Maiden Tower legend is about Seyyid Battal Gazi. Battal Gazi participates in the siege of Istanbul with the army of the Islamic Caliph Harun Reşid. Battal Gazi continues to stay in Üsküdar while the Islamic militia, which cannot get results from the siege, is withdrawing. Because he is in love with the daughter of takfir.
However, Üsküdar Tekfuru attempts to detach her from Battal by imprisoning her daughter with the permission of the emperor. On top of that, Seyyid Battal pressed the Maiden’s Tower one night and escaped, taking both the daughter of takfir and the treasures in the tower. She said that the famous “passed the Üsküdar who took the horse” statement based on this legend.