Living in Istanbul I was spoilt for choice for good subjects for this contest, and ended up going for The Maiden's Tower (Kiz Kulesi in Turkish), one of Istanbul's most iconic landmarks. Built on a tiny island in the Bosphorous strait, there has been a tower on the site for 2400 years, although the current structure was built by the Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus in 1110 AD and subsequently modified by the Ottoman Turks (thank you Wikipedia!)
Popular local legend has it that the original tower was built for the Sultan's daughter, hence the name. It was prophesied that she would die from a snake bite on her 18th birthday, so he decided to imprison her in a tower on the island to protect her from snakes. (In another similar legend, she was put there to keep away undesirable suitors). Of course, it didn't work, in either version of the story.
In actual fact, the tower was probably built as a customs office, to control shipping through the Bosphorous from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. During its long history it has also served as a fortress and a lighthouse, and most recently as a tourist spot, complete with restaurant and cafe. The panoramic view of Istanbul from the balcony is hard to beat.
The tower features in the opening credits of practically every Turkish soap opera, and was also the place where James Bond is captured and tortured towards the end of 'The World is Not Enough.' They could have saved time just by making him pay the restaurant bill!
This was an interesting building challenge, as it's definitely a landmark, but the scale of the real building is more similar to most of the 'Architect Series' sets. Some fun SNOT work for the tower and crenellations at the back. Hi-res versions of the imagea can be found at: http://www.brickshel...ry.cgi?f=500960
Pleasingly everyone who has come round to our apartment since I put the model on display in our living room has recognised it instantly.
Of course it looks much more spectacular in its real-world context. Good luck to everyone and thanks to the moderators for organising a great contest!
Edited by Rufus, 08 April 2012 - 08:16 PM.