It has recently been revealed that permission has been granted for Bond 23 to shoot on location in Istanbul, already well used in From Russia With Love and featuring at the end of The World Is Not Enough. In this article we take a look at the Maiden’s Tower, which served as M’s prison in the 1999 addition to the James Bond film series.
The Maiden’s Tower, known as Kız Kulesi in Turkish, is located on an islet in the southern entrance of the Bosphorus in Istanbul and is briefly seen in From Russia With Love, when James Bond meets Tatiana Romanova on the ferry – it can be seen in the background. It reappeared in The World Is Not Enough, and is where M was held after being captured and where Bond is later taken there and tortured.
The tower dates back to 408 BC and was built to control access to the Bosphorus by Persian ships and during the Ancient Greek and Byzantine periods was known as Leander’s Tower. It was enlarged in the twelfth century and modified several times since and used as a lighthouse for a number of centuries, today the Maiden’s Tower is a café and restaurant with spectacular views of Istanbul.
Dating back so many centuries, the origins of its name are lost; however, there are several legends including one that a sultan dreamt that his daughter would die from a snakebite on her eighteenth birthday and immediately forged ahead to build a place where no snake could reach her. On the day of her eighteenth birthday she was given a fruit basket as a birthday gift, inside of which was hiding a snake and unfortunately his prophecy came to pass.
In order to reach the Maiden’s Tower you can take one of the shuttle boats that go to the tower. Boats run continuously from 09:00 to 18:45 and 20:15 to 00:30 between Salack and the Maiden’s Tower, while there is an hourly shuttle boat to and from Kabatas during the day as well as three boats during the evening. The daytime trip costs a few Euros, while in the evening the shuttle boats are provided for free.