Loves of Istanbul

Culture Tourism

Read Time: 5 min 2 sec 

Translated by OCAKKUCUK, Abdullah 


Sister Hero's burial of herself and her love in the waters of the Bosphorus from the Maiden's Tower after Priest Leandros, the legend of the Galata Tower, the secret love of Pierre Loti and Hatice in the view of the Golden Horn ... Let's look at Istanbul through the eyes of love.


Hero was one of the priestesses of Aphrodite, who was defined as the goddess of love and beauty in Greek mythology, and served in the Maiden's Tower. Since she was a nun, she had no relation with men and love was forbidden. One day, she crossed the tower where she had been staying for years for a ceremony. There she met another priest named Leander and fell in love with him at first sight. Priest Leander felt the same... The only way they could meet was for Leander to swim across the cold and flowing waters of the Bosphorus at night. The story of this couple, who had a love affair for a while, ends on a windy night when the lantern that Hero lit to guide her lover die down... Leaving his way in the dark, Leandros died by drowning. According to legend, Sister Hero, who saw this with her own eyes, could not bear the pain she experienced and she put her life to an end by leaving herself to the waters of the Bosphorus. 


According to Roman traditions, it was believed that when couples who really loved one another go to Galata Tower for the first time together, they would definitely get married. The two young lovers who lived in this period thought that the only way to convince their families to get married was to go to Galata Tower. But the young man had been to this tower before with another girl. Unable to tell this to the girl he loves, the young man accepted to go up the tower with her.. When they climbed up the tower that night, the sky was pierced, the dark air was lit with lightning, and a rain that had not been seen before started. The lovers were surprised and did not know what to do, and ran away from the tower. The young man felt obliged to tell the truth to the girl and they separated as they would never and ever be united again. Since that day, if one of the lovers who climbed up the tower before with someone else, it was believed that the magic would be broken.

Pierre Loti, who came as an officer in 1876, first fell in love with the Ottomans and then a Circassian beauty named Hatice, whom he named Aziyade. Hatice was the third wife of an agha at that time, but the bond that they had could not detain from that relationship. Having learnt that Hatice was coming to Istanbul, Loti made his way to Istanbul before the woman she loved and started to wait for her. Pierre Loti wandered around the city, where he was waiting for the woman he loved. He fell in love with Aziyade and Istanbul again and again in each step he took. The couple, who started to experience a passionate love in the epic beauty of Istanbul, met at Rabia Hatun Coffee, which is today called Pierre Loti. The love of the couple, who met secretly against the view of the Golden Horn, ended unexpectedly when the French soldier was urgently called from his country. Neither Aziyade nor Pierre Loti would forget one another. The French officer could not bear this longing and went back to Istanbul. When he returned, he heard something that he never expected; His dearest love, Hatice, who had waited for news from him for years, passed away at a young age without seeing Loti returning to her. The coffee that Pierre Loti, who is known for his love for Aziyade and İstanbul, visited frequently was named as "Pierre Loti Hill" with this story. 


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