Rising from a rock at the mouth of the Bosphorus is the Kiz Kulesi, built by Ibrahim Pasa in 1719 over the remains of a fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror and of the earliest original building constructed on the rock by Byzantine Emperor Manuel Comnenus I. The romance of the tower finds its root in an ancient myth along the lines of Romeo and Juliet: boy (Leander) falls in love with girl (the Aphrodite priestess Hero); boy drowns swimming to meet girl; girl finds lover's corpse; girl commits suicide. The story originated around the Dardanelles, but was too juicy not to attach to this solitary tower. Legend also has it that the tower was connected to the mainland by way of an underwater tunnel, and that there used to be a wall between the tower and the shore -- a rumor not altogether implausible considering that, according to a 19th-century historian, the remains of a wall could be seen in calm water.

Since as early as the 1600s, the tower has been used as a prison and a quarantine hospital. The tower is currently in service as a (mediocre, overpriced) panoramic restaurant and tea lounge. Take advantage of the free shuttle over (evenings only; daytime fare is 5TL).