1 - According to one of the famous story about Kiz Kulesi, Constantine, one of the Byzantine emperors, had a beautiful daughter that he loved dearly. The soothsayers said the girl would one day be bitten by a snake and die. To protect his daughter the emperor commissioned a tower to be constructed on the small island where Kiz Kulesi now stands and sent his daughter there. However, the girl in the tower was killed by a snake that came to the small island in a grape basket. They burry her under the Emperors' Door of Hagia Sophia.

Tower 1822

2 - According to another well-known story, Manuel Commene (1143-1180), also a Byzantine emperor, got angry when he learned that his daughter "Leandra" had a love affair. He commissioned this tower to be constructed and locked the girl inside it. After this the tower was called "Leandra Tower."

Nicholas Reinger (1591- 1667)

Hero holding beacon for Leander
Evelyn de Morgan (1885)

3 - Hero and Leander - (Other legend of Leander Tower) In Greek mythology; living at the two sides of Canakkale Strait; Hero and Leander were lovers celebrated in antiquity. Hero, the beautiful priestess of Aphrodite at Sestos, was seen by Leander, the young Prince of  Abydos, at the celebration of the festival of Aphrodite honoring the early death of Adonis. He became deeply enanioured of her; but, as her position as priestess and the opposition of her parents rendered their marriage impossible they agreed to carry on a clandestine intercourse. Every night Hero placed a lamp in the top of the tower where she dwelt by the sea, and Leander, guided by it, swam across the dangerous Hellespont. Against all rules they became together in the passion of love night after night. One stormy night the lamp was blown out with the wind  and Leander perished. On finding his body next morning on the shore, Hero flung herself into the waves.

HERO was called "the divine one" between the friends of Aphrodite. In Greek legend was the lover of Leander, who would swim across the Hellespont each night to meet her. He was killed on one such occasion when he got caught in a storm while in the water, and when Hero saw his dead body she drowned herself. LEANDER ("lion of a man" from Greek leon "lion" and andros "of a man") in legend was the lover of Hero. Every night he swam across the Hellespont to meet her, but on one occasion he was drowned when a storm arose. When Hero saw his dead body she threw her self into the waters and perished.

But actually in Greek mythology; this legend takes place not in the Bosphorus but in the other water straight of Turkey Dardanelles (Between Gallipoli and Troya). But at that area there is no such little rock island or ruins. It is said that in time; the love story of the "Leander" who is the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor and the love story of "Leander and Hero " which has similar fates get mixed.

Hero (Iseult) - Charles Perugini
(1839- 1918)

Hero finding Leander - Ferdinand Keller
(1842- 1922)

4 - Aside from these legends there does exist some factual evidence on the tower. The Byzantines used the tower as a prison from time to time and made it a station to collect customs duties from ships and to guide ships by way of the tower's lanterns The Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnene (1143-1180) had two towers built, one on the shore near where Topkapi Palace was later constructed, and the other where the Maiden's Tower stands today. Chains were drawn across the mouth of the strait between these two towers when Istanbul was atttacted by enemy fleets. The original tower was rebuilt after Sultan Mehmed II conquered Istanbul in 1453.

5 - The Turkish people's interest in the tower began when negotiations between Orhan Gazi (1281-1362) and Byzantine Emperor John Cantacuzenus took place at Kiz Kulesi. According to the rumour Battal Gazi, waits seven years to conquer Istanbul across the Emperor's palace. The real reason of his waiting was falling in love with the daughter of the Emperor. When he went to Damascus Campaign the Emperor built the tower to hide his daughter. Battal turning back from Damascus; raid the tower, took the daghter and the treasure of the emperor.

by Nicholas Regnier (1591- 1667)


Hero and Leander

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