Maiden’s Tower ~ Kız Kulesi

Turkey - Leander's Tower


Maiden’s Tower
Kız Kulesi
Leander’s Tower
Istanbul, Turkey

 Kız Kulesi (Maiden’s Tower, Leander’s Tower)Date unknown, but very old. Inactive. Approx. 23 m (75 ft) square cylindrical stone tower with a domed cupola, topped by a tall flagstaff. Adjacent to the historic building is an active light (focal plane 11 m (36 ft); flash every 3 s, red or white depending on direction) mounted on a 9 m (30 ft) square pyramidal concrete tower painted white with a narrow red horizontal band. Adam Franco’s photo is at right, Turkish Wikipedia has several photos, Emre Çagatay has a good 2008 nighttime photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Bing has a satellite view. Capt. Peter has a closeup of the active light, and Koehler also has a photo. This building has a long and complicated history. The first structure known to have been built here was a fortress built by the Athenian general Alcibiades in 408 BCE. Another fortress was built by the Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus in 1110 CE. The first record of a lighthouse dates from 1509, in the early Ottoman period. The present form of the tower results from reconstructions by the Ottoman emperors Mustafa III in 1763 and Mahmud II in 1832. The tower is the subject of several romantic legends, leading to its name as the Maiden’s Tower (Kız Kulesi in Turkish). The oldest legend is the classic Greek tale of Leander and Hero, who supposedly met at this spot. In 1995 the Ministry of Tourism leased Maiden’s Tower for 49 years to the Hamoğlu Holding Company, which agreed to restore the structures and open them to tourists. The restoration was completed in 2000. Today the building houses a museum and a popular restaurant. The tower was featured in the James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough and for U.S. television viewers it appeared in season 7 of The Amazing Race. Located on an islet 200 m (220 yd) off the Asiatic shore at the southern entrance to the Bosporus. Accessible by passenger ferries from both sides of the strait. Site open, restaurant and tower open daily. Site manager: Hamoğlu Holding Co. (Kız Kulesi). ARLHS TUR-038; Admiralty E4903.8; NGA 17372. – The Lighthouse Directory

Turkey - Leander's Tower stamp

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