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Maiden's Tower

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Maiden's Tower Exterior, The World Is Not Enough

The Maiden's Tower, as seen in The World Is Not Enough (1999).

Maiden's Tower (Turkish: Kız Kulesi), also known as Leander's Tower (Tower of Leandros) since the medieval Byzantine period, is a tower lying on a small islet located at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus strait 200m (220 yd) from the coast of Üsküdar in Istanbul, Turkey. The tower was featured in the 1999 James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, where it served as the villains' primary base of operations. It was also visible in the background of From Russia with Love (1963).

Real-world background

Maidens Tower

The Maiden's Tower.

In 1110 Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus built a wooden tower on the islet protected by a stone wall.[1] From the tower an iron chain stretched across to another tower erected on the European shore, at the quarter of Mangana in Constantinople.[1] The islet was then connected to the Asiatic shore through a defense wall, whose underwater remains are still visible.[1] During the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, the tower held a Byzantine garrison commanded by the Venetian Gabriele Trevisano.[1] Subsequently, the structure was used as a watchtower by the Ottoman Turks during the reign of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.[1] The tower was destroyed during the earthquake of 1509, and burned in 1721.[1] Since then it was used as a lighthouse, and the surrounding walls were repaired in 1731 and 1734, until in 1763 it was erected using stone.[1] From 1829 the tower was used as a quarantine station, and in 1832 was restored by Sultan Mahmud II.[1] Restored again by the harbour authority in 1945,[1] the most recent restoration began in 1998 for the James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough, and steel supports were added around the ancient tower as a precaution after the 17 August 1999 earthquake.[2] The interior of the tower has since been transformed into a popular café and restaurant, with views of the former Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman capital.[3] Private boats make trips to the tower several times a day.[4]

James Bond

Maiden's tower exterior (2)

The Tower at dawn.

In The World is Not Enough, the tower served as the launching point for Elektra's plan to destroy Istanbul and with it her major competition in the global oil economy. It was here where she imprisoned M after kidnapping her in Kazakhstan. Unbeknownst to the local authorities, the tower hosted an underground submarine bay servicing Captain Nikolai's Victor III-class nuclear submarine as part of their smuggling operations. Renard and his men planned to launch the submarine from here in order to trigger a nuclear meltdown from the sub's reactor, which would obliterate the city and irradiate the Bosphorus.

James Bond and Christmas Jones learned that M was being held captive here after the latter utilized a recovered locator card from the stolen nuclear warhead to inform them of her location. They were then taken captive and held at the tower by Elektra after her attempt to kill Valentin Zukovsky who had been aiding their efforts. Elektra put Dr. Jones in Renard's custody while she slowly strangled Bond to death in a torture chair. Zukovsky however reemerges and launches his own assault on the tower, killing most of Elektra's men before confronting her in person. She kills him with a concealed gun, but not before Zukovsky frees Bond from his restraints, who then frees M and confronts Elektra atop the tower to demand she call off the attack. Elektra defies him and is then executed by Bond, who goes to pursue Renard as the submarine begins its descent. The city is spared and M is eventually rescued by the authorities.

Images

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Müller-Wiener, Wolfgang (1977). Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls: Byzantion, Konstantinupolis, Istanbul bis zum Beginn d. 17 Jh (in German). Tübingen: Wasmuth, p. 334. ISBN 9783803010223. 
  2. Maiden's Tower official website: Restoration.
  3. Maiden's Tower official website: Photo gallery.
  4. Maiden's Tower official website: Timetable of boat transfers to the tower.

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