Built on a small rocky island in the middle of the sea near Uskudar, where the Marmara sea meets the Bosphorus, the Maiden's Tower - also called as Leander's Tower - has been used for a variety of purposes since its first construction.
First, this small island was used to control the navy traffic and as a customs office in 411 B.C.. In the 12th century, the Byzantines used to protect the Bosphorus and they built a defense tower on the island.
Although the Ottoman Empire continued to use it for the same reason after the conquest of Istanbul, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror replaced the old tower with a new one.
During the golden years of Ottoman Empire, the tower was used as a light house, and on special occasions, was used to salute the guests of the Sultans with gun shots. The tower was completely destroyed by a fire in 1716.
The Prime Minister Nevsehirli Damat Ibrahim Pacha built today's tower in 1725. With its white color and its sliced Baroque dome with a flagstaff on the top of the dome, it's a very striking spectacle.
It has become symbol of Istanbul, and is one of the first things which comes to one's mind about this city and has been subject of many paintings and pictures. It has recently been renovated and opened for sightseeing.