Architectural features of the Maiden Tower. Part 2.

Most likely the main window served as an entrance to the tower.

The main window of the tower has some interesting features. If you look from the inside, the window starts almost from the floor level and the lower base of the window is like a threshold. The stones on the threshold are rather worn and probably people walked on it quite often. Most likely some construction or wooden platform existed in front of the tower to help access the window-entrance on such height. Remains of protruding stones on the surface of the tower under the window also indicate an existence of the such platform.

The main window-entrance - view from the inside. On the left is a niche that is likely used for bolt and bar. Niche to the left of the window. The lower part has worn off a semicircle, perhaps by a log.

On the left inside of the window there is a niche about 20 cm in diameter and 70-80 cm in depth. The lower part of the niche has worn off a semicircle. Perhaps the niche was used for a log, which served as a lock for window-entrance.


There was no stairs on the first floor (ground level).

To move from level to level there are stairs in the thickness of the walls that start from the second level. How did people raise from the first to the second level according to the original concept is not completely clear. Whatever it was, at the beginning of XIX century the Navy Department erected a wooden staircase to the second floor within the tower. After "restoration" of the 1960's, when the tower was redesigned in accordance with the defensive concept, it was announced that from first to second level people supposedly rose by a rope, which was removed during the siege. During the work the entire first floor was renovated and now you can rise to the second floor by installed spiral iron staircase. However, it is highly unlikely that the architect of this perfect monument missed the stairs and let people to climb on the five-meter height of the second level on the rope. Explanation by the defence necessity is also not tenable. Having mastered the first floor, the enemy could easily stage a fire to "smoke out" the defenders from all upper levels.

I guess, and it is quite possible that the entrance to the tower on the first floor didn't exist at all and the entrance to the tower was through the main window. Entering through the main window then it was possible to come down up to the second floor. The stair to the first floor (ground level) didn't exist because it was not necessary to descend down to the as first floor served for water collection (see below).


One of the windows was bricked up from the inside during the "restoration".

If you look at the tower outside, you can count eight narrow windows (plus one main). If you count the windows from the inside, it turns out seven narrow windows. The first floor has no windows now. The window that opens on the first floor was bricked up during the "restoration" of the 1960's. The fact that the window was not deaf, and was originally opened into the first floor can be noticed on old drawings.

Tower has 8 windows. The bottom window is not open inwards now. The drawing shows that the lower window is opened to the first floor.


The level of the first floor was renovated and brought up.

At a height of about 4.5 m the first floor of the tower was actually two times higher than others. He looked completely different and was substantially rebuilt during the "restoration". First, the floor level on the floor was raised by almost a meter. Now, at the entrance to the tower, we have to climb few stairs to the checkout point. Initially the entire first floor was on the level at the entrance. Floor construction consisted of boulders and large stones, and this was an important part of the initial design. Now the floor is paved with stone plates. Secondly, a ceramic tube that passes through the whole structure from top to bottom had an opening on the first floor. This opening was immured. There was also a small passage to the stone well. It also was enclosed. There was a window on the first floor. Now the former window niche is closed by the stand.

The window on the first floor in the figure (1950).  Now the former window niche closed by the stand.


The windows of the tower could not be used for defensive purposes.

Location of all windows on one side of the tower refutes the assumption that the windows could be used for the defence. The windows are directed only towards the sea. There are steps inside the windows niches, but to approach directly to the windows is very difficult. Space in front of windows so narrow and limited that from the window you can see only the sky or the horizon of the sea, but not the area under the tower.

Penetrated through the windows light was directional. If the windows would serve only to illuminate the inner of the tower, it is much more logical to make them much bigger. A narrow slit of windows and cones expanding inside served to direct sunlight at certain points, and not lit all the tower.

A narrow slit of windows and cones expanding inside for the directional light. The space in front of windows are too narrow and limited.


At the winter solstice the sun rises exactly opposite the main window.

The days around 22 December, when the sun rises at the lowest height above the horizon, are the days of the Winter Solstice. In the northern hemisphere the shortest days and longest nights of the year occur during this time. Those days were very important in the culture of many peoples, and served as reference points for employment in agriculture, construction, and other vital areas of society. After the winter solstice, the daylight hours start to increase, indicating that spring is coming. For ancient people, it was a divine miracle - the victory of light over darkness, the birth of a new life. In those days people performed various rituals. Obviously, the Maiden Tower was also included in these rituals and worship of the Sun. Only in Winter Solstice the sun rising in the sky, is framed precisely in the main window of the tower. The sun's rays, passing along the ledge, enter the main window and project onto the opposite wall. At this point on the wall all other rays from widows were converged. Perhaps there was something related to the ritual on this wall, such as a niche, arranged with a purpose. But unfortunately, this place was thoroughly patched during "restoration", and now only traces of the new masonry can be seen on the wall.

On December 22 the sun rises directly in the frame of main window.  Beam enters the tower through the main window and projects onto the opposite wall

For the first time the story of the Maiden Tower connection with the winter solstice was suggested by Abbas Islamov. To test this version, we met the sunrise inside the tower during the Winter Solstice and took pictures. Later these photos were published in some magazines (albeit without attribution).


At the Winter Solstice the sun consistently penetrates the upper windows.

The small upper windows above the main window located on an arc. At the winter solstice the rising sun penetrates into the main window. Then as the sun rise above the horizon along the arc sunlight consistently enters the small upper windows of the tower, one after another to act as a spotlight on the back wall. This effect cannot be seen well today because of the presence of the floors. But, if they were to be removed (as it was before) then the effects should become apparent to the ground level viewers, looking upwards from the inside the hollow tower.

Small upper windows  located on an arc. Sunlight consistently enters the small upper windows of the tower, one after another


There was a special indentation on the ledge of the tower for directing the sunlight into the main window.

If you compare the photos of the tower before and after "restoration" of 1960's, you may notice a slight difference on the ledge of the tower. There was an indentation on the edge of ledge, which was patched during the restoration work. This indentation may seem unimportant, but a detailed investigation can determine that it played a major role in the construction of the tower.

On the old photo the indentation is located below the ribbed side.
On the second photo the indentation patched up to the ribbed side.
 The indentation was in line with the main window and it's height was equal to the height of the window.

The indentation was in line with the main window and its height was equal to the height of the window. During the restoration the indentation was patched in accordance with the shape of the ledge's lower part. The new stones used for the patching are plainly visible on the edge of the ledge. What was the purpose of the indentation? As we know, the windows of the tower are directing to the rising sun. The center point of the tower, the main window and indentation are on the same line. The indentation was done in order to direct rays of the rising sun through the main window to the exact center of the tower. It played the role of a "foresight". Typically, the sun rises in line with this setup only for a few days during a Winter Solstice. Penetration of sunlight to the tower at this time could be a signal for the preparation of certain rituals.

The center point of the tower, the main window, the indentation and rising sun are on the same line during a Winter Solstice.