About Maiden Tower
Maiden Tower, translated from the Azeri name of Qiz Qalasi, is an iconic eight storey cylindrical tower in Baku’s old city in Azerbaijan.
History of Maiden Tower
The base of Maiden Tower is believed to date back to the 6th or 7th century, while the higher parts and the addition that juts out from the tower were built in around the 12th century.
Measuring 29.5 metres high and 16.5 metres in diameter, Maiden Tower probably initially served as a fire temple in its first incarnation before becoming a fortification in the 12th century. An inscription in the tower reading ‘Kubey Mesud ibn Da’ud’, who is thought to have designed the Mardakan Round Tower, has led historians to believe that this was the name of the Maiden Tower’s architect. The name Qiz Qalasi more directly translates as ‘Virgin Tower’ – a reference to its impenetrability rather than any female associations, although many will spin lovely stories and tell you otherwise.
The tower is remarkably solid, even for its day. The walls are 5m thick at the base, and it narrows slightly as it rises upwards – these solid walls and foundations have helped its longevity. The tower remains one of Azerbaijan’s national emblems and appears on currency.
Maiden Tower today
Today Maiden Tower, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, is open to the public. Visitors can climb its staircases, some original and some modern, to see its exhibits of old photographs and finish at its observatory, with magnificent views over the city.
There’s a small entrance fee to visit the tower. It’s open year-round, with hours varying slightly between summer and winter.
Getting to Maiden Tower
Maiden Tower is in the historic heart of Baku, walking distance from the other main sights. The nearest metro station is Icherisheher, a 10 minute walk away and buses stop on the street surrounding the old city.