Maiden’s Tower, Istanbul – Part 1

Elektra’s hideaway for the finale of The World is not Enough is located in the Bosporus strait of Istanbul, namely the famous Maiden’s Tower. Elektra captures M and holds her hostage in the tower, and later, both Bond and Christmas are brought to the island in Elektra’s boat. For the finale, Bond kills Elektra in her bedroom and goes after the submarine by diving from the top of the tower.

The first time the exterior of Elektra’s lair is filmed is when Renard arrives with the plutonium (top picture). He docks at a small quay and one of the mosques on the European side is visible in the background. Later in the film, Zukovsky would dock at the same quay when he comes to Bond’s rescue in the end.

There are a few establishing shots over Maiden’s Tower in The World is not Enough, but it is also visible several times in the background during Bond’s boat ride in From Russia With Love. Unlike today, the house and the tower were all white in 1963, as seen behind Connery.

Connery observes Maiden’s Tower. Knowing that Bond would return? 

Construction of the tower dates back to 12th century. The island has been used for many different purposes over the centuries, such as tax collecting station, defense tower (holding a Byzantine garrison in 1453), a quarantine hospital during the cholera epidemic as well as a lighthouse. After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Turks pulled down the original tower and constructed a wooden tower in its place, which unfortunately, was destroyed by fire in the early 1720’s. After that it was rebuilt from stone once again.

In The World is not Enough, we get the impression that the island is located quite far from land, somewhere in the middle of the Bosporus, but it is actually close to the Asian side, some 150-200 meters off the shore of the Salacak district in Üsküdar.

Today, the Maiden’s Tower is a major tourist attraction with boats bringing people out to the small island every 15 minutes. The price is around 20 Lira (€8). There is a restaurant on the first floor and a small cafe/bar at the top of the tower. The interior scenes in the film were shot in studio and when you are on location it is hard to see how a submarine even would fit on the island. Do not be disappointed if you do not find the magnificent water basin on the island…

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