Istanbul » Istanbul | 105 The Bosphorus is a strait that‘s 30 km long and up to3,700meterswide at its northernend. It is just750 metres wide at the point between the fortresses of Anadoluhisarı andRumelihisarı.Withbothbanks densely populated, you can see all the beautyof Istanbulwhilesailingthrough its turbulentwaters. Shipsdepart from theport of Eminönü, fromtheGolden Horn, head along the European side, pass under two monumental bridges connecting the continents, and then turn around, voyage along the Asian side and return to the port. Along the lengthof the coast are a large number of beautiful villas, some ofwhich represent historic structures, while you can also see Topkapi Palace, numerous mosques, both Bosphorus bridges and all the grandeur of Istanbul. Standing out among these magnificent sights is a tower flying a flag, perched on a tiny island in themiddle of theBosphorus, betweenEuropeand Asia.This is theMaiden‘s Tower or, as the Turks call it, Kız Kulesi. Although it is beautiful enough in its own right, often pictured with the birds that visit it regularly, this tower also deserves attention because of the unusual stories associated with its origins. And they are all about tragic love. In the first version, this is the love of a father for his daughter during the time of Byzantium, while there is a much older tale, dating back to the time of theGreek gods, about the love between a nun and a boy called Leander. The first story goes like this… During the period of the Eastern Roman Empire, one Byzantine emperor received a prophecy that his beloved daughter would die when she turned 18, from a snake bite. In his desire to protect his beloved girl from such a fate, the emperor built a small fortress with a tower, on an islet, in the waters of the Bosphorus, believing that no snake could swim to the princess. And as tends to happen in terriblemyths and fairy tales, he himself became the tragic hero of this story. When his daughter‘s 18th birthday arrived, the emperor forbade everyone from going to the island and set off himself with a basket full of themost delicious fruit for his dearest daughter. A snake was of course hiding in the basket and duly killed the unfortunate girl. And that‘s why it‘s called the Maiden‘s Tower. According to the second tale, which has a similarly tragic end, the islet belonged to a temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite that was home to a priestess called Hero. She oftenwatchedpeople in searchof love praying to the goddessAphrodite and, wanting the same for herself, she fell in love with a boy called Leander. He swamto the tower every evening tobe withher, returning to the shore in the morning. During one stormy evening, a jealous priest turnedoffall the lights in the tower and Leander was unable to find the tower before he drowned in the turbulent waters. It is because of this tale that the tower is often referred to as Leander‘s Tower. Whichever tale you prefer, this place should be visited because of its locationandappearance, if fornoother reason, and because it is also dubbed the Pearl of the Bosphorus. TA L ES OF AN I S L E T In Istanbul, on theBosphorus, theMaiden's Tower On one side is Rumelia and on the other Anatolia, to the south is the Sea of Marmara and to the north is the Black Sea. And in the middle of the restless Bosphorus, on an islet, shines the Maiden's Tower, and wherever the view reaches is the posing Istanbul, the world's only city to sprawl across two continents, colourful, noisy, fragrant, unique… Jedne olujne večeri ljubomorni sveštenik pogasio je sva svetla u kuli i Leander nije mogao da je nađe, pa se udavio u nemirnoj vodi / During one stormy evening, a jealous priest turned off all the lights in the tower and Leander was unable to find the tower before he drowned in the turbulent waters