The Maiden Tower, or Qız qalası, is a cylindrical eight storey building that rises to a height of 29.5 metres. However, its exact origins and intended purpose are not so clear. Evidence points to Zoroastrianism and the pre-Islamic architecture seen in both Iran and Azerbaijan. The belief by many that it is a Zoroastrian Fire temple-Tower is supported by the 7 exits at the top, which could be the 7 Steps to reach heaven.
Whatever its history, the tower is an important symbol of Azerbaijan, appearing on banknotes and coins, being the subject of a popular ballet, and being featured in books, paintings and street art.
Maiden Tower was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, but sadly suffered damage in an earthquake shortly after that. UNESCO feared that the Azerbaijan response to protect and renovate the tower was unsatisfactory and in 2004 it was added to the List of World Heritage in Danger. A stronger plan was put un place, and it was removed for the danger list in 2009. The tower now contains a museum and is open to the public.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 29 May 2019
Posted as part of Tuesday Photo Challenge