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Galata Tower

From The Marmara Pera
5 Min
10 min
Address Bereketzade, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone (0212) 249 03 44

8:30 AM to 11 PM

Visitors looking over the city from the Galata tower

Galata Tower stands proudly in Beyoglu, Istanbul, preserving the spirit of the long-gone Walls of Galata. As a museum and one of the world's oldest towers, this Genoese-inspired structure boasts a rich history, having once been the tallest building in the city for countless centuries. 

The viewing balcony of Galata Tower provides breathtaking panoramic vistas of vibrant Istanbul, while the museum within showcases a remarkable collection of artifacts that trace the city's history from prehistoric eras to the present day. Originally constructed in 1348 as a reconstruction of Emperor Justinian's original tower in Galata, this iconic tourist attraction stands as a testament to centuries of captivating history and serves as an artifact from a bygone era. 

Continue reading to learn more about Galata Tower and how you can visit. 


History of Galata Tower 

Galata Tower, a Romanesque architectural marvel, was commissioned and built by the Genoese colony residing in the Galata region of Constantinople. This strategic colony was fortified by protective walls, with Galata Tower proudly standing as the tallest point, soaring to an impressive height of 66.9 meters. 

The Genoese bestowed the name "Christea Turris" upon the tower, which translates to "Tower of Christ." As a testament to their Christian identity within a predominantly Islamic city, they adorned the pinnacle of the tower's cone with a cross. This symbol served as a visual representation of their faith and their place in a diverse and multicultural Istanbul. 

Following the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire in 1453, the walls surrounding Galata were dismantled, but the tower itself found a new purpose as a prison. A marble inscription near the entrance commemorates the transfer of the tower to Sultan Mehmet, signifying the transition of power. Over the ensuing centuries, Galata Tower served as a vital lookout point to detect and alert the city to fires. In 1965, it underwent a comprehensive restoration, allowing it to be reopened to the public. More recently, in 2020, it was transformed into a museum, preserving its rich historical legacy for visitors to explore and appreciate. 

A captivating aspect of Galata Tower's history is its association with the legendary figure Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi, an inventor from the 17th century who purportedly constructed his own wings and attempted to fly across the city, reportedly taking off from Galata Tower. While the veracity of this tale of unpowered flight remains uncertain, it adds an intriguing layer to the tower's lore. Another enigma surrounding Galata Tower is the presence of an underground tunnel, which was uncovered during excavations in 1965. Some speculate that it may have served as a clandestine escape route for the Genoese, leading to the seaside. Furthermore, during the excavation, numerous skeletal remains were discovered, believed to be the remains of prisoners who had made unsuccessful attempts to flee. These mysteries further enhance the allure and fascination surrounding Galata Tower. 

Inside Galata Tower 

Upon approaching Galata Tower, you'll notice a poetic inscription above the entrance, recounting the 1794 fire that engulfed part of the tower's interior. Inside, the tower comprises nine floors, featuring a spacious ground floor with high ceilings and windows adorned with cylindrical arches. The top floor hosts an observation deck, providing a 360-degree view of the city under the shelter of the cone-shaped roof. Soldiers once used the lower floor windows to keep a watchful eye for fires and other dangers. 

The Galata Tower Museum, which reopened in 2020 on the anniversary of the Liberation of Istanbul, has transcended its past as a watchtower and prison. Today, it stands as a testament to over a millennium of Istanbul's history, chronicling the rise and fall of the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. 

How to Visit

During the summer season from April 1 to October 31, Galata Tower welcomes visitors from 8:30am to 11:00pm, while in the winter season from November 1 to March 31, it opens from 8:30am to 10:00pm. Don't miss the opportunity to experience the breathtaking nighttime views of Istanbul, which are particularly spectacular from the tower. 

You have the option to purchase tickets either at the tower itself or through their website. 

Discover the Free Things to Do in Istanbul for an Unforgettable Experience! If you're in search of exciting adventures and remarkable sights, look no further. Istanbul offers a plethora of captivating activities that will leave you in awe. Explore the vibrant streets, indulge in delicious cuisine, and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of this enchanting city. Don't miss out on the best things to do in Istanbul!

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