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Petit Futé's opinion on LIZARD TOWER (KIZ KULESI)

Vintage plate 2020

It is close to the shores of Salacak, about 180 m from the coast and marks the entrance to the Bosporus. It is one of the symbols of the city, regularly the target of cameras. A James Bond, The World is not enough (with Pierce Brosnan and Sophie Marceau), was shot here. Several legends exist around this tower, they are illustrated inside by frescos. It is said to have been the home of the sweet and virgin Hero, one of the priestesses of Venus. In order to honour his goddess, Hero went to a ceremony and met Léandre. Love at first sight! Madly in love, Léandre threw himself into the waters that very evening to join his girlfriend by the light of a torch. The meeting between the two lovers happens more than once, but one day the torch goes out. Unable to find his way back and exhausted, Léandre disappeared into the waves. Grieved, Hero in turn lets herself slide into the sea and disappears. In Turkish, this tower is called Kız kulesi (Girl's Tower). From a historical point of view, a first fort was built on this islet by the Greek general Alcibiade towards the end of the 5th century BC in order to control the maritime flow. The Byzantine chronicler Choniates tells us that the islet was fortified again in the 12th century at the initiative of Manuel I Comnenus in order to make it an anchor point for the great chain that blocked the Bosphorus and the entrance to the Golden Horn. It is then called Arcla, "small fortress". The Turks used it during the conquest of Constantinople. It was not until 1509, after an earthquake, that it became a lighthouse. At the same time, a water tank was added. In 1719, it was destroyed by fire and then rebuilt under the control of the vizier Ibrahim Paşa, known as Le Gendre. In the second half of the 19th century, the fragile empire was often confronted with serious threats and regained its defensive use. Restored in 1944, it was transferred to the military in 1959. Shipping lines took possession of it in 1982. It was later used as a lighthouse, military hospital, radio station. Ten years later, the phase of opening it to the public began between controversy and consultation. This has now been done, as it is now a five-storey restaurant (www.kizkulesi.com.tr). Possibility to have a drink in the afternoon. The crossing is regularly from Üsküdar.

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Opening time and information on LIZARD TOWER (KIZ KULESI)

Shuttles from Üsküdar and Kabataş. Dinner after 8:15 pm (on reservation): 2 menus of your choice at 200 TL and 250 TL.

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