In the fifth century BCE, a customs point was established on the island where the tower is located today, and a tower was built to inspect ships coming from the Black Sea and to collect taxes.
A defence tower was built on the island by the Eastern Roman Emperor, Manuel Komnenos the First, in the 12th century. A chain was stretched between this tower and a tower located next to the Mangana Monastery in Sarayburnu (the section where the sea walls were restored) to control the entry and exit of ships through the Bosphorus.
After the Conquest, Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror (Fatih Sultan Mehmet) had a new castle built at this location. A guard unit was placed in the castle. Every evening after bedtime and at dawn, the Mehter watch began to play in the tower. It became a tradition to fire cannon shots from the Maiden's Tower during holidays and sultan’s visits to the seaside palaces, and when they ascend to the throne.
A lantern was placed on the northern part of the wooden tower by Sultan III, Ahmed's Grand Vizier, Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha, to illuminate the way for ships coming from the Black Sea and Marmara at night. Since then, the tower ceased being a castle and served primarily as a lighthouse.
Between 1830 and 1831, the tower was converted into a quarantine hospital to prevent the cholera epidemic from spreading to the city. During the plague epidemic in which twenty to thirty thousand people died between 1836-1837, some of the patients were isolated in the hospital established here, and the spread of the epidemic was quelled by quarantine. Passengers and patients were also quarantined in the Maiden’s Tower during the cholera outbreak that occurred in Trabzon in 1847.
A French company added a lantern to the tower, which has since been transferred to the Lighthouses Administration.
After the lantern was transferred to the İstanbul Port Authority, it was used as a gas tank in addition to its lantern function.
The Maiden's Tower was also used as a radar station for a while. For maritime transportation navigation safety, a light was turned on in the tower in the evenings, and a foghorn was blown in low-visibility weather. In addition, until 1983, since the distance of the Harem and Port guidance stations is short, the duties of 24-hour notification and control of all ships passing through the strait was performed by only two officers of the Maritime Enterprises.
This location was used as a surveillance and radar station under the Ministry of National Defence.
In 1983, the Maiden's Tower was transferred to the Maritime and Port management of Türkiye. The building was also used as a cyanide storage facility. The cyanide was moved to a storage facility in Tuzla after a decision by the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality Council in 1992. In May 1992, the tower was used by poets for a period and declared as the "Republic of Poetry".
In 1994, the tower was transferred from the Ministry of Transport to the Naval Forces Command.
After an extensive restoration process, the tower was rented to a private facility for tourist purposes.