Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) in Istanbul
One of the best known symbols of Istanbul is famous Galata Tower. You can see it from many point’s of the city — from Eminönü pier and Galata bridge, from ferryboats which crossing Golden Horn and high points of Beyoğlu district.
In 2020 Galata Tower was reconstructed and today is open as a museum. From it’s terrace you will face an incredible view of the city. At night time when all of Istanbul lights is on, the view of Galata Tower looks mysterious then ever.
So let’s take a walk through Beyoğlu streets and visit one of the most interesting historical places in Istanbul with IstanbulPoints.com.
Galata Tower: Istanbul’s Tower of Christ
The Galata Tower rises above Istanbul offering panoramic views of the Turkish city. Genoese colonists in the Galata area of Istanbul erected the tower in 1348. For nearly seven centuries, it has looked out over Istanbul.
Known as the Tower of Christ, it is one of the most fascinating monuments in the legendary Turkish city. Although the tower is 672-years-old, it is still one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks. The monument’s popularity led to a remarkable 15,000 people visiting it during one week in 2020.
What is the Galata Tower?
The Galata Tower is named after the area it was built in. Galata is a district in Istanbul which was colonized by Genoese people from modern-day Italy. The landmark was built to replace the original Tower of Galata. When construction was finished, the tower stood nine-storeys tall at 66.90m tall, or 219.5 ft.
The Galata Tower’s height means you can see it from most parts of Istanbul. The observatory at the top of the tower was once used as a fire lookout. Since the 1960s, it has been a tourist attraction. Over the centuries, earthquakes, fires, other disasters partially or fully destroyed the tower. However, each time it was damaged, it was rebuilt better than before.
Visitors have a panoramic view of Istanbul from atop the tower. Looking towards the south, tourists can see the Golden Horn, Seraglio Point, and Old Istanbul. Although the city of Istanbul has grown up around it, the Galata Tower was at one time, the tallest structure in the city. Today, it still offers incredible, breath-taking views.
In the 1800s, the views provided by the tower led many artists to paint Istanbul from its lookout. The tower’s significance also led Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi to attempt the first-ever manned flight from its balcony. Celebi leapt off the tower in an attempt to fly using a winged suit.
Why visit the Galata Tower?
Culture vultures and historians are attracted to the tower for its history as a landmark in Istanbul. It is also popular with individuals seeking a unique view of the famous city. It is the oldest tower Istanbul has to offer. A walk or elevator ride up to the observatory can transport you into the past as you ascend one of Istanbul’s tallest landmarks.
Once to the top of the tower, you have a panoramic view of the city and can see many of the most important features of it. The Bosporus and Golden Horn are two of the most significant landmarks to see, but are not the only ones.
Visitors queue up throughout the day to go into the Galata Tower. Queues can be long, so visitors should note they may have to wait to ascend the tower to the observatory. Two elevators were installed in the tower and take individuals up to the very top. The balcony at the top of the tower is open to the public, and is affected by wind and rain. If you are afraid of heights, it is important to be cautious about exploring the balcony.
Once at the top of the Galata Tower, you will find a formal restaurant. The restaurant features authentic Turkish cuisine. You can also see traditional Turkish dancers as they perform for diners. If you don’t fancy a meal at the top of the tower, you can explore the cafes, bars, and nightclubs that make up the square around Galata Tower.
When is the best time to visit the Galata Tower?
The best time of the day to visit the Galata Tower is during the sunset call to prayer. This allows you to not only hear the enchanting call to mosques around Istanbul, but also to see the sea of people hurry off to prayer.
The balcony of the tower opens daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. In summertime, the hours are extended to 7:00 PM. Visiting the ancient tower is not free, but won’t set you back too much money either. In 2023, the admission fee to go up the tower is 175 TL, but if you buy Museum pass Istanbul you can avoid queue and enter Galata tower for free.
Galata is an area of Istanbul that has changed since the 1960s when the tower became an attraction. Today, it is a glorious area to visit and spend time in. The Galata Tower is one of Istanbul’s most important landmarks and one that shouldn’t be missed on a holiday to the city.