Address: Salacak Mevkii, 34668 Üsküdar
Phone: (0216) 342 4747
Web Site: www.kizkulesi.com.tr
Working Hours: Every day: 9:00-18:45
Built on a small isled located at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus, just 200 meters to the coast of Uskudar, Kiz Kulesi was used as a surveillance tower during the siege of Constantinople in 1453. After the conquest of the city, the tower received its name and underwent renovations in 1999 and 2012. The tower’s reputation has been mentioned in many tales and legends, two of the most popular ones are:
Hero was a priestess of Aphrodite residing in a temple built for Aphrodite. Laender was a young man from the opposite side of the brook. It was love at first sight for Laender, thus he kept on insisting to pursue his love although Hero was a priestess. Through long lasting efforts, Leander gained the love of Hero. Every night Laender would swim across the strait to be with Hero. She would light a fire at the top of the tower to guide his way.
When the winter came, it became dangerous for Laender to swim at night among the stormy waves of the sea. They decided to wait until summer to see each other again. One night, Laender read a letter from Hero which was full of longing and decided to swim across the strait to see her. The storm and the wind blew out the fire of the tower; Laender lost his way and drowned. The next morning Hero found Laender’s body among the waves and to be together with him in death, she ended her life.
Villagers who attended their funeral, put Hero and Laender together in a single grave. In the name of the couple's memory, they also poured countless flowers into the waves of Bosphorus.
The Legend of Princess and the Snake starts with the usual fairytale beginning of “Once upon a time”, one of the Byzantine Emperors had a new born daughter whom he loved very much. He celebrated her birthday every year with long lasting festivals. One day, an oracle proclaimed that the Emperor's daughter would be bitten by a snake and would die before she turned 18.
To protect his daughter, the Emperor built a fort on the islet and sent his daughter away to live there. Before the 18th birthday of the princess, a basket of fresh grapes arrived at the fort and a snake crawled out of the basket, bit the princess causing her immediate death.
After his daughter's passing away, the Emperor fell into a deep agony and decided to protect his daughter’s body from the snakes once and for all. He mummified her and put her into a special coffin.