Two of İstanbul’s integral components Galata Tower and Maiden’s Tower are the historical structures that foreign tourists always wonder and want to see. They look like as if they salute each other every time of the day such that you may see the tower from other. They always take their place together on Istanbul postcards.
The Maiden Tower
The Maiden’s tower is stands on a crucial point in the Bosphorus that no one can go anywhere without passing in front of it. Due to the location of the tower, it was used as the control point of the Bosphorus during ancient Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman times. During Turkish Republic period it was burnt and restored; and opened to touristic visit in 2000 by the private sector. The outer coat was changed; the islet was expanded, and a quay was constructed The Maiden Tower The Galata Tower so that boats and ferries can anchor. On the ground floor of the tower, there is a restaurant, a souvenir shop; and there is a cafe and a view terrace upstairs. The legends about the tower are pictured to the walls of the stairs. Guests are welcomed by the bench of paste candy master Üsküplü Ali Usta.
The Maiden’s Tower has been subject to various novels and poems which are mostly inspired by love legend. It is the story of two lovers: Hero and Leandros (Leander). Love is banned for Hero since she is one of the priestess of Aphrodite. One day, Hero leaves the tower in order to attend to a ceremony at the Temple of Aphrodite and meet Leandros. They fall in love with each other, and Leandros swims every night to the tower. Hero lights a lamp every night to guide her lover. However, one stormy night, the light is blown off by the storm; so Leandros can’t reach the tower, and is drowned. Seeing her lover drown, Hero throws herself to deep Bosphorus and dies as well. Because of this sob story the tower is named as “Leander’s Tower” for a long time. It is not known whether it is a true story or not; but there is a torch as a symbol in the tower.
Another legend can be named as “Princess Legend” or Snake Legend”. Once upon a time, a Byzantine Emperor has a daughter, and declares the birthday of his daughter as a festival so that every birthday is celebrated gorgeously. He demands scholars to educate her daughter for the throne. However the eldest scholar makes a prediction that his daughter will die as a result of snakebite before she is 18. Thereupon, the emperor has the tower on an islet restored and settle his daughter there. Time passes and the princess grows up. When is about 18, a snake hiding a grape basket carried to the tower bites the princess and kills her.
The emperor understands that no one can escape from his/her destiny. He doesn’t bury his daughter; has it mummified and put in a brass coffin; then orders the coffin to be placed on one of the highest walls of Hagia Sophia. This way, he thinks that the corpse will be protected from the snakes. Today, there are two holes on the coffin, which cause us think that the snake persecutes the princess even after her death. Yes, these two legends are upsetting; however tourists come to the Maiden’s Tower in order to enjoy and have a good time.
How to go to the Maiden’s Tower; There are ring boat tours from Üsküdar. Salacak and Kabataş everyday between 11:00-18:30.
The Galata Tower
Built by the Genoese in 14th century, The Galata Tower stands gloriously in one of the most tourist attracting region of Istanbul. First of all sit at one of the cafes or restaurants around the tower, then feel the history and atmosphere.
The tower can be sightseen between 9:00 – 19:00; Chose stairs or elevator while going upstairs; but walk downstairs in order to live the tower. The unique view is on the last namely 9th floor. The tower provides 360 degree view of Istanbul on one side Prince Islands, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn and Pera on the other sides; also the Maiden’s Tower. The first cross-continental flight was done during the Ottomans from
the tower, built by the Venetians in 528 as an observation tower. In 1638, Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi succeeded to fly across the Bosphorus to Üsküdar using the wings he produced. Ahmed Çelebi with the nickname Hezarfen meaning “1000 knowledge” was unfortunately exiled to Algeria by Sultan IV. Murad on account of the thought that no one can be above the Padishah. Hearing this story, you may want to wear the wings and fly from the view terrace. Don’t skip viewing İstanbul taking selfies,,, The restaurant serving tea during the daytime is open between 20:00 – 03:00. There is no entrance fee for the restaurant and night club at night. Ottoman dishes are presented at the restaurant, and authentic shows can be seen at the night club. Harem amusements, samples of Anatolian folklore, oriental belly dancers and singers in different languages entertain the visitors. It is also necessary to have reservation for the restaurant and night club:
How to go to the Galata Tower; The transportation to the Galata Tower is so easy. If you start from Karaköy, firstly come to Tunnel Square by the historical one stationed subway; follow Galip Dede Street until the Kuledibi (down tower) Square. There are numerous souvenir shops on the street. It is also possible from Taksim to reach the tower by another symbol of İstanbul “Red Tram”.