The most magnificent and mysterious monument of Baku Maiden Tower – gives its position in South – East part of “Icheri Sheher” fortness and is known long ago as a symbol of the city. This unique construction has no parallel in terms of scale anywhere in East.
Maiden Tower was constructed on cape of coastal cliff represents cylinder of 28 m height and 16.5 m diameter. Thickness of wall at the base is 5 m, upwardly 4 m. Inside the tower is divided into 8 floors with spiral stone stairs. There is a well 21 m deep in cliff inside of tower.
Unassailable stone beauty keeps many secrets. One of them is – why was she constructed? The sizes of tower and absence of long –term residence conditions raise doubts on the purpose of fortification.
As a genuine lady, Maiden Tower hides her age, and time of construction still remains indeterminate.
Most probably, the tower was cultural construction of pre-Islamic period.
This is attested by ancient ritual wells situated at the foot of tower. One more factor that confirms cultural nature of construction, which serve studies of Abbas Islamov. He discovered that at the day of winter equinox (22 December), at that day revered by ancient worships, at sunrise sunlight that streams through central window of Maiden Tower, and then to all other windows situated above. The tower was connected to sun worship, that also affected to its construction.
There are different versions with statements primarily the tower built as a Fire-worshippers temple (the word “Qala” has also a meaning in Azerbaijani language “to make fire”) , zoroastrian tower ( the top of tower where corpses of people were thrown to be devoured by kites, observatory, but none of these versions doesn’t attracted significant criticism.
In 12th century Maiden Tower became the main powerful tower of Baku fortress, in 13-19th centuries Maiden Tower was used as a lighthouse, but from 1964 Maiden Tower became museum and in 2000, was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
About the AGE
As a genuine lady, Maiden Tower hides her age, and time of construction still remains indeterminate. Many thought, that Maiden Tower was constructed in 12th century. This is the age of slab with text situated at the external side of tower. But the slab appeared far later, and it was inserted untidy to the tower, not above the main entrance but somewhere sideways.
Some scientists, during establishing the age of this “Lady”, are guiding by the age of solute used in construction and tracing back its origin to 1st century. The others during establishing the age are guiding by the stone and tracing back its origin to the 9th century.
Famous historian S.B. Ashurbayli told that construction was in the 1st century, M.A.Nabiyev told – in the 6th century. There is the assumption of D.A. Akhundov who told that construction was in 6th century B.C.
Historian of Azerbaijani architecture – L. Bretanitskiy guessed that the construction was in two phases^ the lower part of monument, up to 13.7 m height was constructed in 5-6th centuries but the upper part was finished in 12th century. But there is no doubt that over many centuries the tower not only maintained her appearance but also overgrew many legends that added more attraction and charm to her appearance.
The legends about Maiden Tower are caused not only by her age but also with her name. The name “Maiden” is associated with other towers in Azerbaijan and in the East, and most probably means “unbroken”, “unassailable”
According to one of the legends about Maiden Tower, shah felt in love with his daughter and decided to marry her. She was horror-stricken by upcoming marriage with father and tried to dissuade him from marriage and asked to construct the tower and wait until construction finishes. When the construction finished, shad didn’t change his mind. And then the girl climbed up to the top of tower and plunged into the sea
The scenario became a favorite among artists and poets. In 1923 famous Azerbaijani dramatist Jafar Jabbarly wrote the poem “Maiden Tower”. The first soviet movie, created in Azerbaijan in 1924 is also based on the scenario of the legend. “Maiden Tower” name was given to the first Azerbaijani ballet created by Afrasiyab Badalbayli in 1940.
Until present day Maiden Tower attracts many tourists, inspires artists, poets and dramatists, charms those who want discover mysteries of this unassailable beauty. May be you will be the one who will discover these secrets?