One of the perks of living temporary at Lökbatan is that while you are traveling from the center of Baku till there, you see a lot of the well known monuments of the city. One of them is the “Maiden Tower”. After visiting the monument with my group, I learned a lot of interesting things about it.
Actually the name Maiden Tower (in Azerbaijani Qyz Qalasy) has raised a lot of stories. There are so many of them, that no one seems to know the actual origin of the name. Although the stories are various, they seem to reproduce the same motif. In almost all cases, there was a virgin girl killing herself either for her own love for someone or to escape someone else’s love. There are different legends among Azerbaijani people, like the warrior and the dancing girl, the prince and the maiden, or the father who was in love with his daughter, all of which belong to the category of the girl taking her life in order to escape someone else’s love. On the other hand there are other stories like the boy who walked on water, the maiden with the flames or the princess and the shepherd, in which the girl committed suicide because of the death of their loved ones or the fact that they couldn’t be together.
There is, also, a third category where it is believed that the tower took its name because no one succeeded to occupy it during war times. This theory can be based on the tower’s architecture. The fact that there are almost no windows in it and that one had to climb a rope before he found himself at a point where there were stairs to walk up, worked as a way to save the tower from a lot of attackers.
The tower used to be right next to the sea, a fact that changed over the years. Now it’s surrounded by land. Outside the museum you can find a 3D paint of the Maiden Tower where you can take your picture on it.
Although I already knew that the Maiden Tower was used as an astronomical observatory and it was associated with the religious of Zoroastrianism, the information of it having the shape of “buta”, an Azerbaijani national ornament that makes Maiden Tower one of Azerbaijan’s most distinctive national emblems, was new to me.
There are countless more theories and facts concerning Maiden Tower that someone has to visit the tower himself to decide which one to believe. But the only thing that’s for sure is that its visitors can enjoy the view from the top.
Hara Stamati, Greece
23 July 2016