Galata Tower, Istanbul

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  • hekate's Profile Photo

    Galata Kulesi (Galata Tower)

    by hekate Updated Feb 22, 2005

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    Galata Kulesi (Galata Tower)

    Galata Kulesi (Galata Tower) is providing a panoramic view of the old town and at present houses a restaurant and a night club.

    According to a brochure I had seen, the panorama balcony is open to the public from 09.00 to 17.00 h. So, you could go up there and take some wonderful pictures of Istanbul. I think that it is not free of charge, though.

    WARNING:
    The panorama balcony, encircling the highest row of windows is really narrow. It is impossible two people to walk next to each other. As you can guess it is open air and if you are suffering from acrophobia - fear of heights, I would not recommand you to go out there. I myself was pretty nervouse while being on the balcony and I entered inside quickly :).

    Some facts about the tower:

    - Built in 1348 as the "Christea Turris" (Tower of Christ) by Genoese colonists at the highest point of the citadel of Galata - which was then a Genoese colony independent from Constantinople.

    - The 66.90 meter tower (62.59 m without the ornament on top) was the city's tallest building when built. It is still one of Istanbul's main landmarks, standing at the highest point of the medieval Genoese Quarter and visible from almost any part of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.

    - The tower was known by the Byzantines as "Megalos Pyrgos" (The Great Tower). Later, during part of the Ottoman era the public called it "Hezarfen Tower" after Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi.

    - In 1638 Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi glided on artificial wings from the top of the tower to the slopes of Chrysopolis (Scutari) on the Asian side - becoming one of the first men in history to fly. He was awarded a vast quantity of gold by Sultan Murad IV, but later exiled to Algeria for witchcraft.

    - In the Byzantine period, Galata Tower controlled one end of the massive sea chain which closed the entrance of the Golden Horn.

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  • midnight_mike's Profile Photo

    Galata Tower

    by midnight_mike Written Jun 10, 2006

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    When standing on the shores of the Golden Horn, you will undoubtedly be staring at the Galata Tower. The freestanding tower sits atop a hill in Beyoglu, providing a bird’s eye view of the Golden Horn and the Asian side of Istanbul. It was built in 1348 by the Genoese. The Ottomans used it to spot fires. Since most of their housing was made of wood, the tower was an invaluable asset.

    In the 17th century a man used a hang gliding apparatus to cross the Bosphorus. It was the first transcontinental flight.

    While the Galata Tower is fascinating piece of architecture, I see little value in paying an admission to go up to the top. There is also a high-priced restaurant, but there are much better options in the city. Is it really worth paying $75 per person to eat at the top of this monument?

    The best views of Galata Tower are from the ferries that take commuters from Eminonu to the Asian side.

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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Great Views!!

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 16, 2014

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    Galata Tower, Istanbul
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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.

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  • traveloturc's Profile Photo

    Genovese tower

    by traveloturc Updated Dec 8, 2008

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    View from Eminonu
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    Many years ago I was born very near to this tower and I spend almost all my teenage years looking to this tower from the balcony of my parents house
    The Galata Tower is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city on the European Side, located in Old Pera(Beyoglu) district. It is open everyday from 9.00 to 18.00 to climb up to the observation deck. There is a restaurant on the top of the tower where you can enjoy a traditional Turkish Night. There is an elevator and two floors to walk up.
    The tower was the focus of the Genoese fortifications of Medieval Galata. Originally known as the "Tower of Christ", it was built in 1348 in connection with the first expansion of the Genoese Colony. The first fortified area, walled in as early as 1304, was a long, narrow rectangle along the Golden Horn between today's two bridges over the Golden Horn. On the 17th C, an Ottoman citizen, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi attempted to fly from Galata Tower to Asian Shore of Uskudar and he worked on his project for years. With the wings he invented, he succeded to fly to his target and this was a great success of that time. It was used as an observation tower and constituted an important part of their defense system. It was used as a fire observation tower till 1960s, and later restored and converted to a touristic attraction.
    The observation deck is spectacular, it gives one the opportunity of a 360 degrees of vision. It is 61 meters, 183 ft. tall. From the deck, one can observe the Asian Side, the highest point of Istanbul, the Bosphorus, the Bophorus Bridge, the harbour for the cruise ships, the Golden Horn, the old Galata settlement with rather poor neighborhoods, the Suleiman's Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace, the Spice Market, the New Mosque, the Halic (Golden Horn) settlements, the new part of the town, Beyoglu(old Pera) and so on... Later on ,this tower helps to the fireman to find the exact place and even its used as a meterological warner ( red light-snow,yellow light-sunshine,blue-showers etc )

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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    Great views from Galata Tower

    by Tijavi Written Dec 23, 2006

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    Sultanahmet from the tower
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    Another must visit for first timers is the Galata Tower, which offers 360-degree panoramic views of the city. One of the best times to climb the tower (through elevator, of course), is about sunset, when the city is basked in hues of deep orange. For more of the tower's history, visit this Wikipedia website.

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  • gilabrand's Profile Photo

    The Flying Turk

    by gilabrand Written Jan 31, 2007

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    Up, Up and Away

    The Galata Tower is one of those famous Turkish landmarks that you’d have to be blind to miss. This circular stone tower with a cone-shaped roof juts up on the skyline as you stand on the waterfront near the ferry pier. Remember the fairy tale about Rapunzel (“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair”), locked up in a windowless tower? Well, that was my association when I saw the one in Galata (not to be confused with the Maiden’s Tower, which is a kind of lighthouse).

    Back in the days when Istanbul was Constantinople, this side of the Golden Horn was home to merchants from Genoa. In 1349, they built the tower as part of a network of fortifications.

    But since the 17th century, the Galata Tower has had another claim to fame: A mad scientist and/or daredevil by the name of Hazerfen Ahmet Celebi (“hazerfen” means “a thousand sciences”) chose it as the launching pad for his new invention. He strapped on a pair of homemade wings and jumped off the tower to prove that he could fly.

    The story goes that he landed on the other side of the Bosphorus, in the presence of a large crowd of witnesses (who may or may not have smoked too much sheesha that day). One way or another, Celebi survived. But instead of rewarding him, the Sultan exiled him to Algeria, where he died at the ripe old age of 31.

    If you are coming from Sultanahmet, the Galata Tower can be reached by crossing the bridge, but we approached it from behind, after a visit to Dolmabahce Palace. Walking through the narrow, winding streets of Galata, it was quite dramatic to see this ancient tower suddenly loom up in front of us.

    If you are willing to shell out 8 YTL, you can take the shiny new elevator to the top for a panoramic view of Istanbul. If you are willing to shell out even more, you can have dinner at the rooftop restaurant and watch a bleached blond bellydancer do her stuff.

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    The Galata tower.

    by cachaseiro Written Mar 13, 2010

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    The Galata tower.
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    The Galata tower is one of the oldest still standing towers in the world dating back to 528ad.
    It was originally build as a lighthouse and the place has been restored many times over the centuries, the last time being in 1967.
    It´s open for visitors and you will have to take a lift up as the staircase is closed to visitors at the time of writing.
    there is a really good view of the olod part of town from the top of the Galata tower aswell as a cafe there and i think it´s worth the 10 Lira entrance fee.

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  • H-TownJourneyman's Profile Photo

    Galata Kulesi

    by H-TownJourneyman Updated Mar 17, 2006

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    Galata Tower
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    After the original tower was toppled in 1203 during the seige of Constantinople by the knights of the 4th Crusade, the present structure of Galata Tower was completed in 1348 by the Genoese. This area of present day Istanbul, north of the Golden Horn and west of the Bosphorus, was actually controlled by the Italian city-state of Genoa during much of the 13th and 14th centuries. The Genoese named the tower "Christea Turris", or "Tower of Christ". After the beginning of decline for the Genoese empire in the late 14th century, the area became incorporated within the city of Constantinople by the Byzantines. Then in 1453 when the city fell to the Turks, the tower was used as a lookout for fires within the city. The tower, which stands 61 meters, or 183 feet tall, sits atop a hill, and provides excellent views of the city from across the Golden Horn, as well as the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. There is an elevator as well as stairs available to reach the top. There is also a restaurant on the top floor. A word of CAUTION: The observation deck at the top of the structure does indeed provide some wonderful scenery. But, as it is located outside, and is very narrow, it can be a little frightening for people, like me, who are scared of heights. With the wind whipping around at this height off the ground, I was quite happy to take a few pics, and go right back inside! :)

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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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    Galata Tower - Impressive
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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.

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  • muratkorman's Profile Photo

    Galata Kulesi

    by muratkorman Updated Dec 10, 2012

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    Looking over to Golden Horn
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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.

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  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    GALATA TOWER

    by balhannah Written Aug 2, 2009

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    Wonderful views of Topkapi Palace
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    GALATA TOWER................You can see the Tower from far and wide when in Istanbul.....
    AND ON THE TOWER..........You can see far and wide all over Istanbul !!!....

    This is really worth visiting I think, for the incredible views over Istanbul.

    The Tower is quite old, being built in 528 by the Byzantine Emperor. It was used by the Genoese as a part of their fortication of Galata in the 13th century. The Tower has been restored several times because of Earthquakes that have given it a shake up!

    The Tower is 61metres high, has 11 floors, with a Lift taking you up 9 floors, and then you climb the steps for the last 2 floors to the viewing platform, nightclub and restaurant. In the evenings, the Restaurant has a dinner/cabaret show, with Turkish folk and Belly dancing.

    They only allow a certain amount of people up at once, so as some come down, that amount of people are allowed up. Even so, it was fairly crowded on the platform, not much room for moving about. The queue when I was there was long, not helped because one lift wasn't working. When I came down, the queue was longer again!

    ADMISSION IN 2009 was 10t/l
    OPEN DAILY from 9- 7pm
    DINNER SHOW from 8pm - 1am
    The views are wonderful, you can see everywhere.

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  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Galata Tower-Galata Kulesi

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written May 10, 2009

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    Galata Tower-Galata Kulesi
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    The Galata Tower is one of the city's most striking landmarks. It is a huge, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline on the Galata side of the Golden Horn.

    The tower was built in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. It was the apex of the fortifications surrounding the Genoese citadel of Galata.

    The nine-story tower is about 67 meters tall. The tower has a diameter of 16.5 meter at the base, with 9 meters diameter inside. The upper section of the tower with the conical cap was slightly modified in several restorations during the Ottoman period when it was used as an observation tower for spotting fires.

    You can watch my 3 min 21 sec HQ Video Istanbul Beyoglu and Galata Tower out of my Youtube channel with Askin Nur Yengi – Bocrum Olsun Turkish pop music.

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  • Alikatt's Profile Photo

    an impressive tower

    by Alikatt Updated Mar 2, 2005

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    Galata Tower at night

    I can clearly see it from a distance, standing out in the skyline in the Taxim/Tunel area. It instantly brings back fond memories. I first set foot in it in September 2000 with a very nice guide, Cagri. He pointed out to me the glorious monuments of Istanbul including the Maiden's Tower. I remember the tragic tale. I went up once more to savor the view in April 2004. In the summer of 2004, I stayed in an apartment around the corner from Galata Kulesi. I had no problem telling the taxi driver where to drop me off for sure. When you ascend to its viewing deck, awesome views of the Golden Horn and most of Istanbul within a few miles can be seen. You can almost see the fish being caught by the fishermen on Galata Bridge. You must go up if you go there, well worth the small charge. Better yet, have lunch or tea at the restaurant although there is not much view to speak of while sitting down inside, it offers good food and reasonable prices (for tourists, that is). I love the old fountain outside the tower and the lovely cafes nearby. The walk there from Istiklal Cadessi through Tunel is exciting since it is a very busy, bustling street scene.

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  • marsistanbul's Profile Photo

    a great observatory..

    by marsistanbul Updated Mar 9, 2008

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    Galata tower

    Dated back to 1348,the Galata tower(the Tower of Christ-Christea turris)is between Tunnel(Tunel) and Karakoy district.It is the main tower of Galata district walls,which does not exist today.The first tower was built in the 6th century,the surviving tower that is seen today was built Genoesan people.
    In the 16th century,the tower was also used as a dungeon..
    During the reign of Murad III,the tower was also used as an observatory.Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi,who is the first man to fly in the world,has left Galata tower for swift flight in the air to land in Dogancilar(USKUDAR-ASIA SIDE).
    The tower has 16 stories and observation deck is 51.65 meters high above ground ,conical dome is at 62.59 meters and the top 69.90 meters.
    It has 360' view of the great landscape of historical Istanbul.There is a cafe and restaurant at the top which has a Ottoman night shows for touristic spot.
    open daily 9.ooam-20.oopm
    fee:8/10 YTL(not restaurant or cafe:) it is just entering fee)

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  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    Galata Tower

    by MalenaN Updated Dec 29, 2004

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    Galata Tower on the other side of Golden Horn

    If you are standing in Eminönü and are looking to the other side of the Golden Horn (across Galata Bridge) you will see Galata Tower rising above all surrounding buildings. The observation deck goes around the whole tower and the view over all sides of Istanbul is magnificent.

    The tower was built in 1348 by the Genoese, which had a trading colony in the area.

    The entrance fee to the tower is 7 000 000 TL (June 2004). It is open until sunset. In the tower there is also a restaurant and nightclub.

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