Galata Tower

Galata Tower, locally known as Galata Kulesi, stands in the Galata district of the city of Istanbul, in the province of Istanbul in Turkey.

Galata Tower was built in 1348 as a defensive tower by the Genoese at the northernmost and highest point of their walled colony in Constantinople. The Genoese named it Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) but it got called Galata Tower after an earlier tower that was destroyed during the Sack of Constantinople by Frankish Crusaders in 1204.

Although it was strengthened around 1445, the tower was also taken during the Conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453. During the 16th century the tower was used to house Christian prisoners of war who where put to work as slaves in the Kasımpaşa shipyards at the Golden Horn. Later that century the tower was shortly used as an observatory.

In 1638 a Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi allegedly flew, with self-made wings on his back, from the top of Galata Tower, over the Bosphorus strait, to Üsküdar district on the Asian side of Constantinople; a distance of some 3.4 kilometers. Sultan Murad III at the time initially thought of rewarding him, then changed his mind and sent him to exile in Algeria.

As of 1717 the tower was used as an observation tower for spotting fires in the city. The tower was damaged by a fire in 1794 and again in 1831. In 1875 the original conical roof on the top of the building was destroyed during a storm. The conical roof was not rebuilt before a restoration the 1960's when also the wooden interior was replaced by concrete.

Galata Tower is a round tower of 9 stories. The 2 top floors now house a simple cafe-restaurant and a narrow, exterior, 360º-observation walkway. 

At present Galata Tower can be visited for a small fee. On the outside it is a nice tower but, to be honest, for the rest it is a bit of a tourist trap. There is always a long queue to get in and inside there isn't much to see. A modern lift will take you to the top. The view over the surrounding city is beautiful.


Gallery

Galata Tower

Galata Tower, locally known as Galata Kulesi, stands in the Galata district of the city of Istanbul, in the province of Istanbul in Turkey.

Galata Tower was built in 1348 as a defensive tower by the Genoese at the northernmost and highest point of their walled colony in Constantinople. The Genoese named it Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) but it got called Galata Tower after an earlier tower that was destroyed during the Sack of Constantinople by Frankish Crusaders in 1204.

Although it was strengthened around 1445, the tower was also taken during the Conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453. During the 16th century the tower was used to house Christian prisoners of war who where put to work as slaves in the Kasımpaşa shipyards at the Golden Horn. Later that century the tower was shortly used as an observatory.

In 1638 a Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi allegedly flew, with self-made wings on his back, from the top of Galata Tower, over the Bosphorus strait, to Üsküdar district on the Asian side of Constantinople; a distance of some 3.4 kilometers. Sultan Murad III at the time initially thought of rewarding him, then changed his mind and sent him to exile in Algeria.

As of 1717 the tower was used as an observation tower for spotting fires in the city. The tower was damaged by a fire in 1794 and again in 1831. In 1875 the original conical roof on the top of the building was destroyed during a storm. The conical roof was not rebuilt before a restoration the 1960's when also the wooden interior was replaced by concrete.

Galata Tower is a round tower of 9 stories. The 2 top floors now house a simple cafe-restaurant and a narrow, exterior, 360º-observation walkway. 

At present Galata Tower can be visited for a small fee. On the outside it is a nice tower but, to be honest, for the rest it is a bit of a tourist trap. There is always a long queue to get in and inside there isn't much to see. A modern lift will take you to the top. The view over the surrounding city is beautiful.


Gallery