Istanbul's Maiden's Tower

Istanbul’s historic Maiden’s Tower to reopen in 2023 as museum

Turkish authorities deny that the monument, one of the most famous among tourists traveling to Istanbul, is going to be demolished.

The historic Maiden’s Tower in Istanbul, which is currently undergoing major restoration work, will reopen next year 2023 as a museum, as announced a few days ago by the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums of Turkey, which has thus ended the rumours spread through social media where it was said that the iconic monument – one of the favourites by tourists to take selfies – had been demolished.

“The Maiden’s Tower (Kız Kulesi, in Turkish) will function as a museum and monument with its historical and architectural values ​​intact in 2023, on the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic,” the aforementioned institution announced in a statement issued on September 3rd. Currently the tower remains hidden by several canvases due to the restoration works, which will eliminate several metal and concrete structures added in the 20th century so that the building will recover its original silhouette, formed by a wall and a tower.

Istanbul's Maiden's Tower restored
Istanbul’s historic Maiden’s Tower, as it will look like once restored

“Experts from two universities have reported that the ferrocement used in the walls of the tower after the 1940 fire is no longer resistant to a espected earthquake,” explained the Directorate, adding that the work will focus especially on the dome built on the tower; however, it is also planned that the metal roof that currently covers part of the wall will be removed. The agency adds that all the work carried out has been published on the official website of the Tower, where images of the deterioration suffered by the structure can be seen.

Also called Leander’s Tower, the Maiden’s Tower is a historic fortification built on a small islet located at the southern entrance to the Bosphorus Strait, about 200 meters from the shore of the Üsküdar district in Istanbul. Its name derives from a legend, according to which it was built by an emperor to prevent the prophesied death of his daughter. Actually, it is believed that its origin is Athenian, although it was the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos who in 1110 built a wooden tower on the islet protected by a stone wall, which later housed a garrison during the fall of Constantinople in 1453.