History of Maiden's Tower

The history of this grand structure dates back to antiquity. Built around 419 B.C. as per instructions of the Greek Commander Alcibiades, the initial structure was a watchtower. With a near-complete view of the Black Sea, sentinels stationed at the tower would keep a watch on trespassers and enemy fleets.

In the 12th century, the Byzantine Emperor Komnenos converted this tower into a fortress and practically blocked the entryway through the strait of Bosphorus. The legends apart, there seems ample evidence of the fact that during the Byzantine rule the tower was used as a prison. Used as a station to collect customs duties from the ships anchoring in and entering the land, the Tower was transformed to a lighthouse in this period.

By the time the Turks arrived and finally captured Istanbul, the Tower was a dilapidated structure. They undertook the heavy task of restoration and erected a fully renovated wooden tower. The wooden tower caught fire while on duty lighting the way for passing-by ships was gutted. The present stone tower was built during the reign of Ahmet III in 1719.

Thus, sharing its history with the very history of Istanbul, the Maiden's Tower has stood witness to many events and has very much been a part of every time frame.