Maiden Tower – Leanders tower

Maiden's Tower is a historical tower built 2500 years ago and witnessed the Ancient Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations.

Located around 200 meters off the shore, at the Marmara sea, the tower was a lighthouse and become a restaurant and a cafe.

In the ancient Greek era, the tower was named Damalis. It’s the name of the wife of the king of Athens, Kharis. Damalis was buried on the shore and the tower took her name since then. In the Byzantine era, the tower was called the “arcla” meaning  “a little castle”

During the Othmans time, the tower was destroyed, reconstructed and renovated several times. It was used for several reasons: A radio station, a defense tower, a traffic control center, a hospital and of course a light house.

The history of Maiden’s Tower have different stories but the most romantic is the one about Leandros and Hero. Leandros is a young man in love secretly with Hero. One night when he was swimming to meet his love, the light of the tower turned off and he drown in the cold sea. When Hero heard what happened she committed suicide. That’s why the tower is named Leanders tower and considered a symbol of love and romance in Istanbul.

The restaurant has an ideal location with great views of the Bosphorus. It serves variety of Turkish and world dishes. For dinner, the prices are relatively expensive and the reservations are required.

How to get there?

Uskudar is the nearest district to the tower, located at the Asian side of Istanbul.

From the European side, you have to take the ferry from Eminonu to Uskudar. The ride takes 15 minutes. From the Asian side, there is no close tram or metro stations. You should take the bus to the nearest point, then walk to the tower or take a taxi.