Maiden Tower

Construction start / opening date: XII century

Architect: Masud ibn Dawud

Original name: Maiden’s Tower

The Maiden Tower is one of the most grandiose structures in Baku, attracting attention with its mystery. Neither the date of its construction nor its purpose are known for certain. Perhaps that is why the tower is of interest to tourists all over the world, for them it is known as the Baku Maiden Tower.

Appearance

Baku is a city known as the capital with the Maiden Tower. The unique appearance of the building is still awe-inspiring. The architecture of the building shows the influence of the Ottoman, Persian, Arab cultures. The tower is considered one of the main attractions of Baku and is located in the coastal part of the old city.

The structure was built on a rock, which in some places is lined with stone. Around the tower there is a fortress wall with semicircular ledges – they rise to the top from the very base.

On the east side of the Maiden Tower there is a ledge, the purpose of which is not known for certain. The surface of the building’s body is characterized by the alternation of different rows of masonry – protruding and recessed.

There are eight tiers inside this sight of Azerbaijan, between which spiral staircases are arranged. From below, the thickness of the walls reaches five meters, above – four meters. The structure could accommodate up to two hundred people.

Functions

In different centuries, the Maiden Tower performed different functions. In the twelfth century, it was an impregnable fortress and the main part of the Baku defense system – one of the most impregnable fortresses of the Shirvanshahs (rulers of the territories of modern Azerbaijan).

In the 18th-19th centuries, the tower was used as a lighthouse. But later, due to the fact that its light merged with the lights of the night city, the lighthouse was moved to Nargin Island.

Restoration

There are also periods of restoration in the history of the Maiden Tower in Baku. In the nineteenth century, after repairs were carried out, the battlements, arranged for the defense of the fortress, disappeared from its top. In 1960, the last restoration was completed, and four years later the tower became a museum. Since 2000, this architectural monument has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Peculiarities

The Maiden’s Tower has only a few windows, which are placed along the stairs leading upstairs. The roof is very small. There was no constant communication between the tiers in the tower. There was a temporary staircase on the ground floor, which could be removed if necessary.

One of the structural features is smokiness. Moreover, the soot is localized in those places where the torches were installed, as well as at the very top. The tower also has its own well, about twenty meters deep.

From the second to the seventh floor, the tower is equipped with semicircular gutters

Name

There are many buildings in the world called the Maiden’s Tower. There are those in Crimea, Istanbul, Tallinn. All these structures were built in medieval times, when the unconquered tower was considered virgin. The Baku tower also got its name in the Middle Ages, when European traditions began to spread in Azerbaijan.

Legend

Many ancient stories are associated with the name of this interesting place in Baku. The legend about the Maiden Tower in Baku tells that in pre-Islamic times the ruling khan wanted to marry his own daughter, who looked like his deceased wife.

The gods gave him a blessing, and a tower was built on top of the rock in honor of the bride. But the girl opposed the will of her father and jumped from the tower into the sea, crashing against the coastal rocks – since then the tower was named Maiden.

How to get there

Many tourists are interested in where the Maiden’s Tower is. It’s very easy to get to her. By metro or buses, you need to get to the Icherisheher stop. The doors of the tower are open to all Baku residents and guests of the city. Today there is an exhibition of museum exhibits.

There is an observation deck at the top of the tower, from which you can admire the most beautiful landscapes of Baku. The Maiden Tower is a symbol of Baku and a real find for all fans of eastern legends. It is rightfully considered the most mysterious building in Baku.

Interesting Facts

  • The Maiden Tower is depicted in the paintings of famous artists, for example, A. Bogolyubov
  • Since 2010, an international art festival has been held here – artists from different countries decorate the models of the tower.
  • The Maiden Tower is depicted on the stamps of Azerbaijan and the USSR.
  • According to legend, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, Saint Bartholomew, was executed near the tower.