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Greek Goddess, Eros

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Capricious, or at best humans see his arrows as striking somewhat randomly.

Mother and father:
Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, and Ares, the God of War. Poor kid! But earlier accounts make him one of the oldest gods, active long before either of his parents. He is said to have caused the creation of Okeanos and Tethys, who were also very early Greek deities.

In his Cupid guise, he is said to have mated with Psyche, whose name means Soul. Poor Psyche ran into major in-law problems – see below.

By Psyche, Volupta or Pleasure; Nyx (Night). With Chaos he is said to have formulated all birds.

Some Major Temple Sites:
He had a refuge on Mount Helion.

Basic Story:
Some say there are two Eroses, the elder who is the early god, and the other who is the eternally young son of Aphrodite. The “elder” Eros was the cause of the birth of the race of immortal gods and goddesses. The “younger” Eros is the one depicted as a winged boy, the son of Aphrodite, considered to be both the most beautiful and the youngest of the gods.

But even in this type, kids grown up. Problems ensue when Eros (called Cupid in this story) falls in love with Psyche. His radiance is such that for her own safety, he insists that she must never look upon his face, and he only visits her at night. At first, she’s cool with this, but her sisters and family insist that her husband should be a grotesque and dangerous monster. Finally, to shut them up, one night she lights a lamp and sees his glorious beauty, which does not blast her but does make her tremble so hard she shakes the lamp. A few drops of hot oil dribble on her beloved, burning him, and he flies away from her in physical pain worsened by the pain of knowing she doubted him.

His mom, Aphrodite, is angry over the injury and over the concealed relationship. While Cupid recovers, Aphrodite hopes to get Psyche out of the way permanently by making life extraordinarily difficult for her daughter-in-law. This takes the form of various potentially deadly tasks such as dropping by to get some beauty lotion from Persephone in the Underworld, and, while you’re out, Psyche, would you pick up some water in bottles from the River of the Dead (the Styx)?

But Cupid ultimately recovers, comes to her rescue, and they marry. As is appropriate, the God of Love gets a happy-ever-after.

Alternate Name:
Sometimes known as Cupid by Roman writers and translators.

Interesting Reality:
The word “erotic”, meaning lovemaking love, originates from the name of Eros. However, even in ancient times, his quality of love was regarded as spiritual as well as physical, and was generally thought to be the deity who caused the love of beauty, healing, independence, and many other good thingsalong with the love between people.

Maiden’s Tower (Kız Kulesi), Istanbul

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kiz kulesi Maiden's Tower Istanbul

Maiden's Tower, Kız Kulesi, Istanbul, The Bosphorus, Maiden's Tower Photos

Kizkulesi Tower in Istanbul Kizkulesi is located off the coast of Salacak neighborhood in Üsküdar district, at the southern entrance of the Bosphorus. It literally means “Maiden’s Tower” in Turkish. The name comes from a legend: the Byzantine emperor heard a prophecy telling him that his beloved daughter would die at the age of 18 by a snake.

So he decided to put her in this tower built on a rock on the Bosphorus isolated from the land thus no snake could kill her. But she couldn’t escape from her destiny after all, a snake hidden in a fruit basket brought from the city bit the princess and killed her.

Another legend wrongly mentions Hero and Leander in the tower, therefore some people wrongly call it “Leander’s Tower”, a sad love story told by Ovidius: Hero was one of the priestess of Aphrodite living in the tower. One day she left the tower to attend a ceremony in the temple where she met Leandros and they fall in love with each other.

Leandros swam to the tower every night to visit his love, meanwhile she was holding a torch to guide him in the dark waters towards her in the tower. But on a stormy night Leandros couldn’t see the light because it was put out by the winds, and he swam all night loosing his way until he was drowned.

Hero, seeing that her lover died, she also jumped into the water and suicided. Some people narrate this love story as it was happened on the Bosphorus, but in fact it’s a legend from the Dardanelles, when Leandros was swimming to Hero between Abydos (today’s Eceabat) and Sestus (today’s Canakkale city).

Kizkulesi is dating back to the 5th century BC when it was built by the Athenian general Alcibiades on a rock at the entrance of the Bosphorus for the surveillance of the waterway. A chain was pulled from the land to the tower to make it a checkpoint and customs area for the ships going through.

After several restorations in wood and stone, Emperor Alexius Comnenos built a strong defense tower in the 12th century AD calling it Arcla, meaning “Small Tower”. The tower was used as a lighthouse and control tower also during the Ottoman period after the Conquest of Constantinople.

Final restoration was done in 1998 and opened as a restaurant after spending around 3million US dollars. The tower was featured in one of the James Bond movies in 1999; “The world is not enough”, where the terrorists placed a nuclear submarine underneath the tower to be exploded in the heart of the city and where “M” (Judi Dench) was imprisoned by an oil tycoon’s daughter (Sophie Marceu) which Bond (Pierce Brosnan) had to kill her. Today, Kizkulesi is a very popular and classy restaurant and cafeteria-bar.

It offers 360 degree views of the Bosphorus and the old city, especially at night. There are several shuttle boats going to the tower at certain times from Kabatas neighborhood on the European side of Istanbul and from Salacak neighborhood on the Asian side. It’s also a popular place for summer time weddings. The tower is closed on Mondays.