Maiden’s Tower, or Kiz Kulesi, is an ancient site in Istanbul located on a tiny islet in the Bosphorus Strait that has a history of both practicality and folklore. The origins of the tower aren’t completely known, leading to legends such as one attesting that it was built to lock away a princess after it was prophesized she would die from a snake bite on her 18th birthday – hence the name Maiden’s Tower.
The origin of Maiden’s Tower is believed to date back over 2,000 years, though the tower itself has changed over the centuries. Originally built of stone, a wooden tower was added in the 12th century after the Ottoman Turks conquered the area. This led to the tower’s downfall when a fire ravaged it in the 1700s. The tower was rebuilt in stone and in the 1800s a light was also added to the top. During this time, Maiden’s Tower also switched from being used as a defense tower to being intermittently used as a lighthouse and as a quarantine facility for those affected with cholera.
Today, Maiden’s Tower is home to an upscale restaurant and bar. The bar is located on the top floor and has a romantic vibe with an outdoor balcony you can enjoy your drink on.
Due to its location, the only way to visit Maiden’s Tower is via water and boats frequently leave for the tower from Kabatas (western side) and Uskudar (eastern side). The boat ride generally takes less than 20 minutes.