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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Maiden Tower

The Maiden Tower is a tower in Old City, old town Baku, which is originally on the shore of the Caspian Sea. It is also called as Qiz Qalasi in Azerbaijani. Due to land recovery in the early 20th century the tower is now separated from the Caspian by a busy main road and public gardens.

Maiden TowerThe Maiden Tower is a noted landmark and one of Azerbaijan most distinctive national emblems. It is featured on Azeri currency notes and other official pieces of paper. It houses a museum and a gift shop. The view from the roof takes in the alleys and minarets of the Old City, the Baku Boulevard, the De Gaulle house and a wide vista of the Baku Bay. In recent years the brazier on the top has been lit during the nights of the Novrous festival.

It was constructed in the 12th century, or possibly earlier - its architectural style and construction sequence is obscure, and estimates for its age go back to an unlikely 2,500 years. It was built by the 12th century architect Masud ibn Davud, who was probably the father of the architect of Mardakan Round Tower. Its foundation are believed to be a Sasanid era Zoroastrian site.

Maiden TowerMaiden TowerThere are a number of challenging explanations for the name of the Maiden Tower. A legend concerning a maiden who threw herself off its top, to her death in the waves below. The fact that the tower has never been taken by force. Some believe that it was once a Watch Tower

The Maiden Tower is depicted on the obverse of the Azerbaijani 1 to 250 manat banknotes of 1992-2006, and of the 10 manat banknote issued since 2006. The excellent view of the Maiden tower and Caspian Sea is also viewed from the Sultan Inn in the Old City. In December 2000, the Old City of Baku the Maiden Tower became the first location in Azerbaijan classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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