alainiterz artwork

ait terz art

Joined August 2008

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Artist's Description

Tower Istanbul…There are many legends about the construction of the tower and its location. According to the most popular Turkish legend, a sultan had a much beloved daughter. One day, an oracle prophetised that she would be stung to death by a venomous snake’s bite on her 18th birthday. The sultan, in an effort to thwart his daughter’s early demise by placing her away from land so as to keep her away from any snakes, had the tower built in the middle of the Bosphorus to protect his daughter until after her 18th birthday. The princess was placed in the tower, where she was frequently visited only by her father.

On the 18th birthday of the princess, the sultan brought her a basket of exotic sumptouous fruits as a birthday gift, delighted that he was able to prevent the prophecy. Upon reaching into the basket, however, an asp that had been hiding amongst the fruits bites the young princess and she dies in her father’s arms, just as the oracle had predicted. Hence the name Maiden’s Tower.

The older name Leander’s Tower comes from another story about a maiden: the ancient Greek myth of Hero and Leander. Hero was a priestess of Aphrodite who lived in a tower at Sestos, at the edge of the Hellespont (Dardanelles) . Leander (Leandros), a young man from Abydos on the other side of the strait, fell in love with her and would swim every night across the Hellespont to be with her. Hero would light a lamp every night at the top of her tower to guide his way.

Succumbing to Leander’s soft words, and to his argument that Aphrodite, as goddess of love, would scorn the worship of a virgin, Hero allowed him to make love to her. This routine lasted through the warm summer. But one stormy winter night, the waves tossed Leander in the sea and the breezes blew out Hero’s light, and Leander lost his way, and was drowned. Hero threw herself from the tower in grief and died as well. The name Maiden’s Tower might also have its origins in this ancient story.

Today, there is a restaurant in the first floor and a café at the top of the tower. It is a popular tourist destination.

Artwork Comments

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