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Considered to be
symbolic of Istanbul, this tiny tower was established on a small
island at the entrance of the Bosphorus. In the past, it was used as a
watchtower and a lighthouse, until its present purpose of a tourist
attraction. Western sources describe this as Leanderís Tower, who was
drowned while swimming, to reach his lover Hera. Another story
suggests that it was a tower where an emperorís daughter put her there
for security, having dreamt that she would be bitten by a snake.
The tower was
built by the Genoese in 1348, during their occupation of the area,
primarily to prevent attacks. Originally known as the Tower of Christ,
it stood above the fortification surrounding the Genoese city-state.
There is a spiral rock staircase which ascends to the top viewing
platform, which today offers visitors spectacular 360 degree panorama
of the entire city. The tower was restored in 1967, and an elevator
was installed to offer a less tiring alternative to the steep climb.
There is also a restaurant on the top floor.
Within the grounds
of the central building of Istanbulís University (formerly the palace
of Mehmet the Conqueror) this wooden tower was built for fire watchers,
and remains a landmark throughout the city. Mahmud II demolished it in
order to construct a better one, and according to the inscription, he
ordered a rock-filled tower in 1828 to be built by the Ministry of
Defense. The monument is 50m high, and from the upper landing,
accessible via wooden staircase, offers a superb overview of the city.
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