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Üsküdar (District Municipality, Turkey)

Last modified: 2017-12-02 by ivan sache
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Flag of Üsküdar, two sets of horizontal and vertical version - Images by Tomislav Šipek, 29 November 2017


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Presentation of Üsküdar

The municipality of Üsküdar (535,916 inhabitants in 2012; 4,61 ha) is located on the Asian shore of Bosphorus.

Ivan Sache, 13 March 2016


Flag of Üsküdar

The flag of Üsküdar (photo, photos, photo) is blue with the municipality's emblem. "Belediye Başkanlığı" means "Municipality Presidency". In a seemingly less official context appears also a white or blue (photo) flag with the emblem framed within a blue square and the name of the municipality beneath it, in orange letters. "Belediyesi" means "Municipality".
The emblem of the municipality features the Maiden's Tower (Kız kulesi), which is located 150-200 m off the shore. Quoting the European Capital of Culture 2010 website:

Although it is not definite as to when the Maiden’s Tower was built, the tower’s architectural style is said by some sources to be from around 340 BC. Previous names of the Maiden’s Tower were Damalis and Leandros. Damalis is the name of the wife of the king of Athens, Kharis. When Damalis died, she was buried on the shore, and the name Damalis was given to the tower. It was also known during Byzantine times as “arcla” which means “a little castle".
After the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottomans, the tower was pulled down and a wooden tower was constructed in its place. Destroyed by a fire in 1719, the tower was rebuilt from stone once again by the head architect of the city, Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Paşa. The cone-capped part of the tower was taken away and a kiosk fitted with glass replaced it. A lead-covered dome was later added to the kiosk. Rakım Efendi, a famous calligrapher, added an inscription with Sultan Mahmut II’s signature on marble and placed it above the tower’s door. A lantern was added to the tower in 1857, and in 1920, the tower’s light was a converted into an automatic lighting system.
The Maiden’s Tower has been used for many different purposes over time, such as a tax collection area from merchants, a defense tower, and a lighthouse. During the cholera epidemic in 1830, it was used as a quarantine hospital and radio station. During the Republic Period, it was again used as a lighthouse for a little while. The tower was handed over to the Ministry of Defence in 1964 and then to Maritime Enterprises in 1982. It has undergone renovations and presently functions as a restaurant open to the public owned by a private company.

The name of the Maiden's Tower is "explained" by three different legend, each involving a maiden.
A young man named Leandros fell in love with a priestess named Hero who was faithful to Aphrodite. However, as a priestess, falling in love with someone was taboo for Hero, who lived in the Maiden’s Tower. Every night, Hero set up a fire in the tower so that Leandros could find his way to her by swimming to the tower. They met every night until the bonfire started by Hero was put out by a storm. That very night, Leandros lost his own way in the cold waters of the Bosphorus and died. Hero could not endure the pain and committed suicide.
Once upon a time, a soothsayer made the prediction to the King that his daughter would die as a result of a snakebite. Thereupon, the King had a castle built in the sea in order to protect his daughter. Time passed and the princess grew up in the castle. However, the prediction made by the soothsayer inevitably came true as a snake hiding inside a fruit basket brought to the princess bit her to death.
A man named Battalgazi fell in love with the daughter of the Christian ruler of the town. To protect her daughter, the ruler locked her her in the tower. Battalgazi assaulted the tower and abducted the girl, riding away with her on his horse. The expression, "He who takes the horse got by Üsküdar" comes from this legend.

Tomislav Šipek & Ivan Sache, 29 November 2017


Other vertical flags of Üsküdar

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Other vertical flags of Üsküdar - Images by Tomislav Šipek, 29 November 2017

The municipality also uses vertical flags with different color combinations for the flag field, the square framing the emblem and the lettering:
- blue field and square, orange letters (photo);
- white field, blue frame, orange letters (photo);
- celestial blue field, blue frame, orange letters (photo);
- blue field, white frame, orange letters (photo).

Tomislav Šipek, 29 November 2017