Galata Tower, Istanbul

4 out of 5 stars 99 Reviews

Buyuk Hendek Cad., Beyoglu

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  • Galata Tower as seen by the sea
    Galata Tower as seen by the sea
    by Sirvictor
  • Galata Tower
    Galata Tower
    by Sirvictor
  • Dwellings around the tower
    Dwellings around the tower
    by Sirvictor
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    The Galata Tower

    by IreneMcKay Updated Oct 2, 2014

    The Galata Tower is the cylindrical tower with the pointed roof that juts out of the Galata skyline on the Karaköy side of the Golden Horn.

    Historically the Galata area was populated by the Venetians and then by the Genoese. Therefore, it was a Catholic area surrounded by an Eastern Orthodox city, and later a Catholic area surrounded by a Muslim City.

    The Genoese built strong defensive walls around the Galata area. They also built the Galata Tower as an observation tower in 1348. The tower's original name was Christea Turris or the Tower of Christ. At 66.9 metres high it was at one time the highest building in the city. The Galata Tower replaced an earlier tower located closer to the waterfront. This was known as the Great Tower. The Great Tower controlled one end of a chain that could be pulled across the Golden Horn to stop enemy ships from entering the harbour The Great Tower was destroyed in 1203 during the fourth crusade. After the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453, the Galata Tower was used first as a prison and later as a fire watch tower. As many of Istanbul's buildings were made of wood, fire was always a grave danger.

    There is a legend associated with the Galata Tower. In 1348 Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi created a pair of artificial wings. Wearing these, he leapt off the Galata Tower and flew all the way to Üsküdar on the Asian Side of the Bosphorus, more than three kilometres away. This flight terrified the ruling sultan, Sultan Murad IV, who thought
    Çelebi was using some form of black magic so he had him exiled to Algeria.

    Nowadays the Galata Tower is a great place to enjoy scenic views over the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and the Istanbul rooftops which can be teeming with life. You will see women gossiping, preparing food together, washing and drying clothes. You can also enjoy the Istanbul skyline with the domes and minarets of many famous buildings displayed against the horizon.

    The Galata Tower is nine floors high. If you want to see the view, take the lift to the seventh floor, then walk up two flights of stairs. Be careful when you step out onto the observation deck there is a sort of ditch around the outside of the tower down which you can easily turn your ankle. I know, I did once.

    The Istanbul Skyline from the Galata Tower. Preparing Food on the Roof. Wash Day on the Roof.
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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Great Views!!

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 16, 2014

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    Going to the top of the Galata Tower was one of my favorite things to do in Istanbul because the panoramic views from the top were great! I loved the greens, pinks, and tans of the surrounding buildings, the views of the mosques, the ships and ferries sailing the Bosphorus, the bridges, as well as the views of Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and the Galata Bridge.

    The tower itself rises 196 feet out of Beyoglu and is easily spotted from the Eminou side of the Galata Bridge. It is shaped like a rocket ship and doesn't really look so tall up close. In the 6th century it was used to monitor ships in the surrounding waters. In subsequent years it was a jail and also a fire lookout.

    We went at 4 p.m. which was a good time. The sun was still shining but glare was less. There was a line even at that time of day. The elevator goes almost to the top but once you exit the elevator you have about 60 (circular) stairs to climb. You have to yield to people passing and it gets a little tight especially if you're on the "small" part of the stair. Once you do reach the top, make sure to go clockwise around the tower otherwise you will be constantly trying to pass people on the narrow walkway (and in turn, irritating them!). There is a sign posted with a directional arrow.

    There is a restaurant where the elevator lets off and a gift shop in the bottom of the tower. There is also a nightclub in the tower but I didn't see that.

    Do try and go when the sky is clear for the best "long" views. If you are coming from the Eminou side or from the Galata Bridge, take the "tunel" (funicular/underground railway) up the steep hill to Beyoglu Square and walk back down a short distance to the Tower. Otherwise, the walk from the bridge to the tower is pretty steep.

    Admission is 10 TL

    Open 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily

    Restaurant & Nightclub is open 8 p.m. to midnight daily.

    Galata Tower, Istanbul Great views from the Galata Tower, Istanbul Great views from the Galata Tower, Istanbul Great views from the Galata Tower, Istanbul Great views from the Galata Tower, Istanbul
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  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    Galata Tower

    by WulfstanTraveller Updated Feb 2, 2014

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    Galata Tower, rising above the Beyoglu district of Istanbul, provides amazing views of much of the city, including the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn, the old city from Saray Burnu and Topkapi Palace, to Suleymaniye Camii, and all thr way towards Eyup. One can also see the skyscrapers of Levent and Maslak to the north as well as much of the Asian shore, including Uskudar.

    View of Suleymaniye from Galata Tower, 2004 Galata Tower from Eminonu, June 2004 View to Levent & Maslak from Galata Tower, 2004
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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    Galata Tower

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Jan 3, 2014

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    Tower built by Genoese Merchants. This tower dominates the neighborhood of Galata and can be seen from all over the city. The top floor now has a restaurant which features traditional Turkish music and dance.

    Galata Tower Galata Tower Galata Tower Galata Tower Galata Tower
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  • solopes's Profile Photo

    A landmark

    by solopes Updated Dec 26, 2013

    Visible from far, this tower built by Genovese in the 14Th century and still keeping its italian look, is now the place of a restaurant and, it seems, a "tourist trap".

    Going up is expensive and the sights are... roofs and distance. We didn't risk to go up.

    Istanbul - Turkey
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  • TrendsetterME's Profile Photo

    Galata Tower, Istanbul, TR

    by TrendsetterME Updated May 3, 2013

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    The Galata Tower, called Christea Turris (the Tower of Christ in Latin) by the Genoese, is a medieval stone tower in the Galata / Karakoy quarter of the city just to the north of the Golden Horn. One of the city's most striking landmarks, it is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and offers a panoramic vista of Old Istanbul or Constantinople and its environs.

    Galata is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Istanbul where you can see the iconic Galata Tower, one of the most important historical monuments of Istanbul. The first man who flew in history, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi opened his wooden wings and flew from Galata to Uskudar in the 17th century. You can see an amazing, breath taking panoramic view of Istanbul from the tower.

    There is a restaurant and cafe on its upper floors which command a magnificent view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. Also located on the upper floors is a night club which hosts a Turkish show. There are two operating elevators that carry visitors from the lower level to the upper levels.

    You can find many local shops (from gift shops to cool shoe shops, vintage boutiques to Turkish designer’s showrooms) great cafes and cozy restaurants and you can wonder the streets of Galata to enjoy a lovely day in Istanbul.

    The most which everyone likes most about Galata is the neighborhood’s energy, crowded by young people and many foreigners every day of the week and at any time. Galata is from a walking distance to Tunel, so you can stay at some of the little hostels in Galata and discover the city starting from the heart of Istanbul. Am sure u gonna like the Galata Tower and the surrounding neighborhood .... :)

    Galata Tower, Istanbul, TR Galata Tower, Istanbul, TR Galata Tower, Istanbul, TR Galata Tower, Istanbul, TR Galata Tower, Istanbul, TR
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  • SWFC_Fan's Profile Photo

    Excellent panoramic views of Istanbul

    by SWFC_Fan Written Mar 2, 2013

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    The Galata Tower is a 14th centrury, Genoese-built tower standing tall above the Galata and Karaköy districts of Istanbul.

    It first caught our eye as we arrived by ferry at Eminönü on the opposite banks of the Golden Horn. I knew that we'd get great panoramic views of the city from the top, so we stopped by for a visit while walking back from Tünel Square to Galata Bridge.

    At the time of our visit, in February 2013, a ticket for the viewing platform cost 13 TL (£5), or 6.5 TL for Turkish citizens.

    A lift transported us up to the 7th floor of the tower, and then we walked up a couple of flights of winding stairs (not too steep or narrow compared to other towers we've visited) to reach the observation deck.

    The observation deck is outside and runs around the entire circumference of the tower, providing panoramic views in all directions. It was very busy while we were up there, making it a struggle to walk around. Visitors are supposed to walk in one direction only (clockwise), but not everybody was following that rule.

    We were particularly interested in the view over the Galata Bridge and out towards the Sultanahmet area of the city. It was every bit as impressive as we expected it to be, with the busy waterway below us and countless minarets on the skyline.

    As well as the observation deck, there are also floors near the top of the tower that house a restaurant and a nightclub. As always in such places, prices are inflated due to the views and the presence of foreign tourists. We gave the restaurant a miss and just visited the observation deck.

    Galata Tower affords excellent panoramic views over the city of Istanbul and its surrounding waters!

    Galata Tower, Istanbul Galata Tower, Istanbul Panoramic view of Galata Bridge from Galata Tower Panoramic view from Galata Tower, Istanbul Panoramic view from Galata Tower, Istanbul

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  • muratkorman's Profile Photo

    Galata Kulesi

    by muratkorman Updated Dec 10, 2012

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    This old historic tower has a fantastic view over Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. It was built as Christea Turris in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. The nine-story tower is 66.90 meters tall (62.59 m without the ornament on top, 51.65 m at the observation deck), and was the city's tallest structure when it was built. The elevation at ground level is 35 meters above sea-level. The tower has an external diameter of 16.45 meters at the base, an 8.95 meters diameter inside, and walls that are 3.75 meters thick. Galata Tower represents the man and Leandro Tower (Kiz Kulesi) represents the girl where two lovers cannot reach each other. As you will observe, both towers can be seen from each other, but the sea seperates them. There is a jazz cafe at the top where you can enjoy the music and the view together. The entrance fee is 12 TL for foreigners and 6 TL for locals. Only cash is accepted. After 8 pm, visitors are not allowed except those who have reservation for the restaurant.

    Looking over to Golden Horn At the entrance View from the tower 1 View from the tower 2 View from the tower 3
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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Galata

    by mikey_e Written Dec 8, 2012

    Galata is outside of Istanbul proper, and as such has a history and origin that is deistinct from the origins of the city. Galata's origins lie with a Greek settlement in the 5th century CE, but its fortifications and more famous old remains stem from its Genovese community, which was established in the 12th century. Galata also was home to a Romaniote Jewish community that prospered with the city and was permitted continuous residence even after the Ottoman conquest. Arabs and Jews expelled from Spain in the 15th century further enriched the mix of this part of the city, and Jewish bankers helped to build up the mercantile interest of Galata. The result is a rich architectural heritage that is best exemplified in and around Galata Tower. While significant money has been invested in the restoration of the Galata Tower area, other areas are still in need of a facelift. This quasi-dilapidation provides for great pictures and an unedited view into the history and sociology of one of Eurasia's great cities.

    Streets of Galata Saints Peter and Paul Ecclesiasty Building in Galata Church door in Galata Repurposing the old
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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Galata Square

    by mikey_e Written Dec 7, 2012

    Galata Square surrounds the Galata Tower and, by virtue of its connection to one of Istanbul’s more famous landmarks, it has become a major hub for tourist traffic. While the shops, restaurants and cafés on the sides of the square may not be to everyone’s liking, the square does retain some of the more aesthetically pleasing aspects of the Ottoman civil campaign. In particular, there is an impressive fountain (sebil) that contains an engraved tughra or seal of an Emperor, as well as beautiful stone engravings, that stands just opposite the Tower.

    Ottoman Fountain View of the detail Ottoman Fountain Galata Square Neo-Classical architecture on the Square
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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Genovese Istanbul

    by mikey_e Written Dec 7, 2012

    It can be easy to miss the Galata Tower, or Galata Kulesi in Turkish, if you are simply wandering about Istanbul and trying to pick out landmarks. While this tower rises 65 metres – no small height – it is packed into dense mediaeval Istanbul, and thus is not immediately visible if you are walking along Istiklal Caddesi. If the tower seems out of place amongst Ottoman and Byzantine architectural styles, that is because it was first constructed in the middle of the 14th century by Constantinople’s Genoese community as watchtower for their fortifications in Galata. After the Ottoman conquest of the city, the tower was maintained and underwent several restorations, but it no longer served as part of a separate Galata fort, as the entire city was unified under Ottoman control. They used it for various purposes, including as a watchtower for fires and as a storehouse. In 1875, its conical roof was destroyed by a storm and was not replaced until the 1960s. At this point, the Republic’s authorities renovated the tower and reopened it to the public as a tourist site, complete with café and restaurant from which visitors get a view of the surrounding city. These facilities are still in operation today, and there is often a long line to get into the Tower. I prefer taking shots of the tower from below, as the square around it has been beautified and its stately rise above the buildings provides an excellent subject for photography.

    Galata Kulesi Another view of the Tower Tower from below Lining Up
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  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    Visit The Galata Tower - Steep Streets to Climb

    by Mikebb Updated Feb 14, 2012

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    The previous day we sighted the Galata Tower high on the hill overlooking Istanbul, the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. We thought we would visit the next day and we did.

    Taking the light rail (tram) from the Sultanahmet we soon arrived at Eminonu district where the ferry terminal is located. From here we could see the Galata Tower high on the hilltop on the Asian side of Istanbul. We walked the Galata Bridge, a most interesting walk and soon arrived in Asia.

    The task ahead of us to climb the steep hill to Galata Tower was much harder than I expected. We took it slowly walking through the various small streets and as my wife was with me we often stopped as she looked in shop windows and occassionally entered. I found the shops interesting, much different to those in my home town, and often the items for sale looked as though the shopkeeper had crafted them.

    First built during 507AD as a wooden lighthouse tower it was rebuilt in pile stone during 1348 and has been renovated several times. The tower is 60 metres high and topped with a conical tower.

    Hezarifen Ahmet was the first man to fly when he attached wooden wings to his arms and jumped off the tower and flew to Uskudar.

    Galata Tower - Impressive Galata Tower From The Distance Inscription in Turkish - Galata Tower Galata Tower - Climing the Steep Road Notice - Galata Tower
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  • Raimix's Profile Photo

    Galata tower

    by Raimix Updated Feb 7, 2012

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    Tower was built in 1348 by Genoese colony. It was used mostly for defensive purposes. At the time it was built, it was the highest tower in city. When Istanbul was already Turkish, from 1717 tower was used for spotting fires.

    Some interesting stories tell that in 17th century few people tested idea of aviation from the top of tower. One flew using artificial wings, another one tried the flight with a rocket in a conical cage filled with gunpowder.

    Nowadays it is observation tower, used as a spot for Istanbul panorama. I haven't visited it inside, as I think there are enough places to see how Istanbul looks.

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  • mtncorg's Profile Photo

    GALATA TOWER/GALATA KULESI

    by mtncorg Written Nov 15, 2011

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    Originally built by the Genoese community in 1348 at the apex of the Byzantine fortifications protecting the old district of Galata, the tower stands some 67 meters high – the observation deck is at almost 52 meters plus the ground level is already 35 meters above the sea. During the Ottoman times, the tower was used as a fire lookout over the city. Fires and storms damaged the tower over the years, but the tower was restored in the mid 1960’s and privatized. There are elevators taking you to the observation deck plus a restaurant just below. The tower is open from 0900-2000 every day – the restaurant is open until midnight. One of the best views of Istanbul can be enjoyed from up here, but everyone else seems to know this too. Sunsets can be especially spectacular, but the crowds of tourist will be just as amazing. To get here, it is either uphill from the Galata Bridge or a short ways from the Tünel end of the major pedestrian street of Ýþtikal Caddesi.

    Galata Tower gleaming at night Galata Tower shining in daylight Sunset crowds wait their turn at tower Sunset on the Golden Horn Istanbul and the Golden Horn from the tower
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  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    The Galata Kulesi

    by pieter_jan_v Written Jun 11, 2011

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    The Galata Kulesi (Galata Tower) was built as the Christea Turris in 1348 when the city still was called Constantinople. It was part of the original fortification of this part of town.

    In later centuries the 66.9 meters high tower was used as a watch tower to spot fires in the city. That did not prevent that in 1794 the tower was severely damaged by fires.
    After restoration, during a storm in 1875, the conic roof on the top of the building was destroyed. The tower remained without its roof for the rest of the Ottoman period.

    From 1965 to 1967 the original conical cap was restored and the wooden interior was replaced by a concrete structure. The tower was commercialized and opened to the public.
    There are a restaurant and café on the upper floors which a great view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus.

    Entrance fee to the tower = 10 TL.

    The Galata Kulesi - Istanbul The tower seen from the Galata bridge Fountain near the Galata Tower
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