Galata Tower, topped with a distinctive witch’s-hat roof, is one of the most impressive and popular landmarks in Istanbul. Dating back to 14th century, the tower is an old Genoese tower overlooking the beautiful Istanbul and has a massive cone shaped structure that was built at approximately 38 meters above the sea level and rises to a height of 62 meters above its base. There is an amazing view of the Historical Peninsula, Golden Horn and Bosphorus through Princes’ Islands from the tower that encompasses Istanbul.
History of the Galata Tower
The Galata Tower is believed to have been constructed in the year 1348. It is also known that the first tower was constructed closer to the sea with the order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 528. But it was demolished by the Latin Crusaders. On the 14th century, in 1348, it was the Genoese, who had a semi-independence from the Byzantines constructed a gorgeous tower on the site and called the Tower of Christ, and it also had been part of their fortification.
During the Ottoman period and reign of the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566), the tower used as a prision (16th century), and afterwards as the accommodation place for the Ottoman military band (18th century), as a fire tower (19th century).
Galata Tower also has an important story and event from the year 1638 that; according to Evliya Celebi, a renowned Ottoman historian and traveler, a man named Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi managed to fly from the Galata Tower’s top (European side) to the Uskudar coast (Asian side) with a home-made artificial wings. And this flight is considered to be the first intercontinental flight in the world. After the flight, in order to reward Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi, Sultan Murad IV sent him to exile in Algeria. :)
Galata Tower Attractions
Today, Galata Tower serves as a popular tourist sight, that its observatory deck has a 360 degrees view of Istanbul. There are two elevators in the entrance that takes you to the top.
There is also a cafe and restaurant (Galata Tower Restaurant) on top that visitors may have Turkish breakfast and meals in the company of excellent views, and a souvenir shop in the entrance of the tower.
Visitors may also spend great day out at the recently restored small square around the Galata Tower, along the couple of lovely outdoor cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.
As well as strolling along the narrow streets, especially the famous Galip Dede ramp leading the Tunnel square and Istiklal Street. There are variety of lovely craft, souvenir and music shops as well as a couple of art galleries along the Galip Dede ramp that you may enjoy.
Visitor Information and Ticket Price
Galata Tower is situated in between Galata and Karakoy neighborhoods, not far from the Karakoy shore and Galata Bridge.
Open every day from 09:00-19:00, the restaurant starts to serve after 20:00
Address: Buyuk Hendek road, No: 2, Galata, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 293 57 07
How to Get There?
For the ones who stay in the Taksim and Galata hotels, they can get to Galata Tower by walking. From the end of the Istiklal Street, on the Tunel Square, you may walk downwards from the Galip Dede Street or take the Tunel-Karakoy funicular (F2 line) to get to Karakoy and take a short walk.
From Taksim, you may take the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line) from the Kabatas stop and get off at the Karakoy stop and take a short walk. To get to tram stop from the Taksim Square, you may take the Taksim-Kabatas funicular (F1 line) for Kabatas tram stop.
From Sultanahmet, you may take the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line) from the Sultanahmet stop and get off at the Karakoy stop and take a short walk.
From Kadikoy, on the Asian side, you may take the ferries operating to Karakoy and from there you may take a short walk.
Check the Istanbul Railway Network Map for the Tram stops and Istanbul Ferry Lines Map for ferries.
Note: Driving to Galata Tower is not recommending that you hardly can find an empty parking area located close to the Galata Tower.