Was the Maiden a Customs Agent?
Ask any citizen of Istanbul about the Kız Kulesi (Maiden’s Tower) and they’ll regale you with the fable of how a jealous father sequestered his fair daughter here, on this rock in the middle of the Bosphorus, to protect her from the world, and particularly from a curse put upon her by a ticked-off sorcerer: the maiden would die by snakebite, said the warlock.
Hah! thought Dad: No snakes on that rock!
The snake hitched a ride in a fruit basket, the daughter got her bite, the over-protective father was chagrined, etc.
According to historians, though, the Kız Kulesi was a medieval maritime toll-booth, a convenient place for ships passing through the Bosphorus to pay duty on the goods they transported through the Byzantine emperor’s domains.
Today there’s a restaurant here, and other towers—big white steel ones with radar mechanisms on top—watch the ships.
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