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Galata Tower

From The Marmara Sisli
25 Min
1 hr
Address Bereketzade, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
Phone (0212) 249 03 44

8:30 AM to 11 PM

Exterior view of the Galata Tower, people watching the view.

Galata Tower stands as a testament to the ancient Walls of Galata, serving as a cylindrical sentinel overlooking Beyoglu, Istanbul. This historic tower, influenced by Genoese architecture, holds the distinction of being one of the oldest towers globally and held the title of the city's tallest building for many centuries. Today, it serves as a museum, preserving its rich heritage for visitors to explore. 

From its expansive viewing balcony, Galata Tower presents breathtaking panoramic vistas of vibrant Istanbul. Within its museum walls, visitors can explore a captivating collection of artifacts that trace the city's history from ancient times to the present day. Originally constructed in 1348 as a restoration of Emperor Justinian's original Galata tower, this iconic tourist attraction stands as a testament to centuries of captivating history, embodying the essence of a bygone era. 

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


History of Galata Tower 

Galata Tower, commissioned and constructed by the Genoese colony residing in the region of Galata, Constantinople, served as a prominent landmark within their fortified settlement. Standing tall at 66.9 meters, this Romanesque tower marked the highest point of the protective walls encircling their thriving colony. 

Dubbed "Christea Turris" by the Genoese, which translates to the Tower of Christ, Galata Tower bore a significant Christian symbol atop its cone-shaped roof. A cross proudly adorned the tower, representing the Genoese community's affiliation with the Christian faith within the predominantly Islamic cityscape of Constantinople. It served as a visible emblem of their distinctive cultural and religious identity in a diverse and vibrant metropolis. 

Following the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire in 1453, the walls of Galata were dismantled, yet the tower found a new purpose as a prison. To commemorate the transfer of ownership to Sultan Mehmet, a marble inscription near the entrance bears the date of this event. In the subsequent centuries, Galata Tower served as a vigilant watchtower against fires that plagued the city. In 1965, the tower underwent a meticulous restoration and was opened to the public, allowing visitors to appreciate its historical significance. In 2020, it was transformed into a museum, further preserving its rich heritage for future generations to explore. 

Adding to the allure of Galata Tower, there are intriguing tales and mysteries associated with its history. One such legend revolves around Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi, an inventor from the 17th century, who is said to have constructed his own wings and attempted to fly across the city, purportedly taking off from Galata Tower. While the authenticity of this story remains uncertain, it adds an air of mystique to the tower's lore. Another enigma surrounding the tower is the existence of an underground tunnel, which was discovered during excavations in 1965. Speculation suggests that it might have served as a clandestine escape route for the Genoese, leading towards the seaside. Remarkably, the excavation also revealed numerous skeletal remains, believed to belong to prisoners who sought freedom but met an unfortunate fate. These mysteries only deepen the intrigue surrounding Galata Tower, captivating the imagination of those who visit. 

Inside Galata Tower 

Before entering Galata Tower, you'll encounter a poetic inscription above the entrance archway, recounting the 1794 fire that damaged part of the tower's interior. Inside, the tower features nine floors, including a spacious ground floor with high ceilings and windows adorned with cylindrical arches. The top floor offers an observation deck with a 360-degree view of the city, shaded by the cone-shaped roof. The lower floors' windows were used by soldiers as lookout points for fires and other dangers. 

On the anniversary of the Liberation of Istanbul, the Galata Tower Museum reopened its doors in 2020. Today, it stands as a testament to over a thousand years of Istanbul's rich history, encompassing the remarkable epochs of the Romans, the Byzantines, and the Ottomans. Its role as a watchtower and prison is now surpassed, as it offers a captivating journey through the city's storied past. 

How to Visit   

During the summer season (April 1 to October 31), Galata Tower welcomes visitors from 8:30am to 11:00pm. In the winter season (November 1 to March 31), the opening hours are from 8:30am to 10:00pm. The tower's nighttime views of Istanbul are particularly breathtaking, offering a splendid sight to behold. 

You can acquire tickets for the Galata Tower at the entrance or through online purchase here.

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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