Guide: The Maiden Tower of Baku

August 18th 2023 in Travel
Guide: The Maiden Tower of Baku

The Maiden Tower of Baku | Azerbaijan

The Maiden Tower, locally known as Giz Galasi (Qiz Qalasi), is located in the heart of Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, within the old city known as Icheri Sheher. It is considered a unique symbol of the city.

The Maiden Tower is a cylindrical structure that is 28 meters tall and 16.5 meters in diameter. It has an elongated ledge attached to one side and is divided into eight tiers connected by spiral staircases. The tower is of unknown age, but estimates place its construction between the 1st and 9th centuries. A 12th-century stone tablet with Arabic text is mounted on one of the tower’s walls. To reach the top of the building, you must climb a series of giant stone steps, but the breathtaking view of the surrounding area and the Caspian Sea makes the climb worthwhile.

Whether Maiden Tower was initially used for defence or burial rites is disputed. The elongated, narrow shape of the windows on the tower’s spiral staircase suggests that it may have been built for the cult of sun worship. At dawn on the winter solstice, the sun’s rays shine directly through the central window, then into each successive window.

Despite the unknown date and reason for its construction, Maiden Tower is surrounded by legends. One story claims that a ruler forced his daughter to marry someone she didn’t love, so she asked him to build the tower and delayed the wedding. The king didn’t change his mind when it was completed, so the girl threw herself from the top. It’s said that girls would leave flowers on the rocks below the tower to remember the maiden. Another version says that the daughter had a lover who killed the king, and they lived happily ever after.

Thousands of tourists visit Maiden Tower every year. The tower features a museum showcasing historical artefacts, an aerial view from the top, and a miniature composition of Old Baku. It is located within a 10-minute walk from Baku’s Fountains Square. It is often visited with other historical sites in Icheri Sheher and newer attractions along Nizami Street and Baku Boulevard.

Despite the many surrounding tales, the historical roots and cultural value of the Maiden Tower in Baku are undisputed.