The most exquisite one among historical landmarks in Istanbul, the Maiden’s Tower, is finally open for a visit after a 2-year-long restoration process.

Maiden’s Tower is the most iconic symbol of the city. It has a unique position, nestled on a small piece of land at the entrance of the Bosphorus Strait. It showcases the most stunning views of Istanbul. Today, it is considered a magnificent cultural heritage in the heart of Bosphorus.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism initiated a restoration project in 2021.Maiden’s Tower is also called Damalis, Arcla, Leander’s Tower, and finally, Kız Kulesi. It has a deep-rooted history that is praised by numerous tales. Its historical background traces back about 2500 years.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism initiated a restoration project in 2021. The main idea behind it was to preserve and safeguard this historical landmark of the cultural capital of Turkey. After 20 months of hard work, the Maiden’s Tower gracefully opened with a spectacular ceremony of light shows.

Maiden’s Tower’s History

When it comes to Maiden’s Tower history and legend coalesce into each other. This magnificent tower has a 2500-year of history and had been used for many different purposes throughout the ages. There are various tales of Kız Kulesi spread by word over the ages, some might be more widespread than others.

 The Iconic Maiden’s Tower's historical background traces back about 2500 yearsThe most intricate story was about a princess, cursed to die by a snake bite on her 18th birthday. To prevent this horrifying curse, the king built a fortified tower to safeguard her there. However, a snake crawled into a basket of fruits and reached the tower. The prophecy was, in fact, came true.

The other renowned tale includes another tower, overlooking the Bosphorus from Galata. The tale of the two towers also romanticizes the city itself. The legend has it that the Galata Tower and Maiden’s Tower were desperately in love with each other for ages. However, they couldn’t come together and express their love for each other.

It is a common fact that the first tower construction was made by Athenian commander Alcibiades. The main purpose of it was to audit the maritime commercial activities going around in Bosphorus to manage the taxation.

It is a common fact that the first tower construction was made by Athenian commander Alcibiades. The tower’s former name, Damalis comes from the mausolea built in the very land of Maiden’s Tower by Greek ruler Chares, for his wife. In the 12th century, Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnenos also built a tower here. This tower controlled the maritime trade by linking a chain between Maiden’s Tower and Sarayburnu (Seraglio Point).

During the reign of the Ottoman Empire, Maiden’s Tower turned into a castle-like structure. It was used for celebrations and performances and as a lighthouse at first. A Cholera outbreak occurred in the Ottoman capital in the 19th century, and the tower functioned as a quarantine hospital. The tower bears a huge significance in Turkish culture and history.

In the 20th century, it is refunctioned again as a lighthouse until 1983. After a restoration project in the 1990s, the Maiden’s Tower has been leased to a private establishment for touristic activities.

In 2021, a comprehensive renovation project began to return the tower to its well-known original shape. After a 20-month renovation carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, now it is open for visitors.

About the Restoration Project of Maiden’s Tower

Istanbul Maiden’s Tower’s latest renovation has been carefully planned and operated by professionals.Istanbul Maiden’s Tower’s latest renovation has been carefully planned and operated by professionals. The whole project is carried out in the context of universal safeguarding principles. The first touches started in 2021.

The whole project mostly focused on recovering the previous damages of the tower, and its pier. The main purpose was to fortify the tower with state-of-the-art construction technology.

It is revealed in the laser and georadar scanning that the previous version was not resistant to any possible earthquake. The main reason that weakens the structure was the chemical-related damages that occurred over time.

Now, the whole structure was reinforced with steel and concrete materials as a part of earthquake measures. Also, Maiden’s Tower regained its original architectural style in the 19th century.

Visiting the Maiden’s Tower

Visiting the Maiden’s TowerMaiden’s Tower is open for visitors every day, between 09.00 - 20.00, and requires an entrance fee. Maiden’s Tower entrance fee is 400 TL. You might also pay a 50 TL for transportation fee. However, Müzekart owners can enter the building freely.

You can visit Maiden’s Tower by using small cruises on the Bosphorus. The private boats from the Anatolian Side operate between Üsküdar Salacak and Maiden’s Tower between 09.00 - 19.00.

From the European Side, you can also take a boat ride from Galataport in Karaköy to Maiden’s Tower. There are 5 different Bosphorus boat tours that depart from Galataport to Maiden’s Tower.

The first boat trip is at 11.00. The last boat departs from Galataport at 17.00. Please keep in mind that it will not return back to the Galataport after the trip.

Explore Istanbul as a true Istanbulite!

This iconic landmark sits perfectly still in the heart of the Bosphorus. It is worth stopping by to enjoy Istanbul's city views and be captivated by the magical silhouette of Istanbul.

The remarkable cultural capital of Turkey has a lot to offer for everyone; especially to history enthusiasts and digital nomads.

Take a look at our Area Guide page to discover the most exquisite facts and unique experiences in Istanbul to live as a true Istanbulite!