Maiden Tower: origin of the name

Tours in Azerbaijan

Each city has an architectural symbol. This is the Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul, in the capital of Great Britain – London Bridge, and the symbol of Paris, for example, is the Eiffel Tower. And the symbol of our city has always been the Maiden Tower.

The age of the majestic construction which is situated on the territory of the Old City is lost in the history of ancient world.  And there is not exactly information why this tower is a Maiden one. There are many versions of the origin of this name. We will name only a few of the most common, and the reader can choose which one to consider reliable.

Version1 1: Legendary.

King had a daughter who was loved by a simple fisherman, and their love was mutual. But her father had his own plans for the future of his daughter – he wanted to profitably give her in marriage to the son of an influential nobleman. To eliminate the created obstacle, king ordered to kill the fisherman. But it didn’t help him. A girl in a fit of grief for her dead lover made suicide by jumping down from the tower, and since then, the tower has been a Maiden.

Version 2: Fabulous.

There was a hero in the East, a warrior, to whom a fortune-teller prophesied as a child that no man could ever defeat him. Faith in this prophecy inspired the hero with unyielding self-confidence, added strength and, indeed, made him invincible. He wandered from city to city, challenging the strongest fighters to fights, in which he won victories one after another.

He reached Baku in his wanderings and, as usual, began to challenge the heroes to single combat, from which, as usual, he emerged victorious. There were many strong and proud fighters among the people of town who did not want to put up with the fact that some alien was cracking down on their fellow countrymen. They accepted the challenge one after another, and one after another found themselves among the fallen at the hands of an invulnerable warrior.

And now, after another victory, the hero again challenges for a fight. In response to it, the doors of the tower dissolve and a maiden in military armor comes out of them to meet the challenge. That battle turned out to be the last for the hero, because he was defeated by maid's hand . And the maiden went back through the doors of the tower… and no one has seen her since. She was not just a girl, but a peri, a fairy, the guardian of the city, who was sent by the higher forces to this battle to stop the extermination of the city men. And the tower is called the Maiden Tower in honor of her.

Version 3: Interesting.

Nargin Island is located in the Caspian Sea, about a couple of kilometers opposite the boulevard. It is believed that the Maiden Tower was originally planned as part of a complex of two towers. The second one was supposed to be located on the island of Nargin. They were supposed to symbolize the ancient Eastern concept of “Yin-Yang”, masculine and feminine. There was to be a “male” tower “Yang” on the island, and “yin”, that is a female or “maiden” tower on the island.

The version is beautiful and slender, especially since “yin”, moreover, symbolizes the north, and “yang” – the south, and  Nargin island is south of the Baku bay. Although not a single stone was found on it, even for the foundation of the tower, it is quite possible that plans for the construction of both towers still took place.

And finally, the most plausible version.

In the Middle Ages, when there were wars between cities, the winners took tribute and trophies from the defeated. The tribute was taken with jewelry and women who were taken into slavery. The version of the origin of Maiden Tower is that when the enemy attacked Baku, before climbing the fortress walls for defense, women were gathered in the walls of the tower and closed the doors. They gathered women with a parting message that if the enemy breaks through the defenses and enters the city, they should climb to the top of the tower and throw themselves from it, because death is above dishonor.

Such a course of action is quite suitable for the mentality and character of Baku residents; therefore, this version is considered the most reliable.

Our guests can walk near the symbol of our city together with the guide of Azerbaijan Travel International tour company as part of Old City tour.

Tags: Baku , Maiden Tower , Caspian Sea , Mosques , Old City , Middle Ages , Hagia Sophia , Legendary , Yin Yang

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