The Maiden Tower (Azerbaijani: Qız Qalası) or also known locally as Giz Galasi located in the Old City, Baku in Azerbaijan is an ancient tower. Built in the 12th century, as part of the walled city of Baku, the Maiden Tower, with the Shirvanshahs' Palace dated to the 15th century, are an ensemble of historic monuments which have been inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage List of Historical Monuments as cultural property under category iii, in 2001. It is one of the most noted landmarks and Azerbaijan's most distinctive national emblems, and is thus featured on Azeri currency notes and other official letter heads.
The legendary tale of the king willing to force his daughter to marry a man she doesn't love, which she escapes by asking her father to first build a tower for her, and when it is finished committing suicide by jumping from the top of it has been the subject of many Azerbaijani poems and plays. However, the ballet titled “Maiden Tower", was the first Azerbaijani ballet composed by Afrasiyyab Badalbayli, in 1940. This ballet is performed at Baku´s Opera and Ballet Theatre. However, the story line is a modified version of the legend. According to the modified version of the Ballet, the king on his return from his war campaign found that his wife had given birth to a daughter instead of a son. He became furious and ordered killing of his baby daughter. However, the baby's nanny took her away to a secret place where she grew up to a beautiful lady. At age seventeen she got engaged to a lover. At this juncture, the king chanced to see her, wanted to marry her and therefore took her away and kept her in the Maiden Tower. The girl's lover was furious with this turn of events and he managed to kill the king. He then ran to the Maiden Tower to rescue his lover. However, when the girl heard sound of foot steps approaching towards the tower, she thought that it was the king coming to see her and she immediately committed suicide by jumping down from the tower.