About Galata Tower

Named in the temporary list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and amongst the oldest towers in the whole world, the Galata tower is also one of the prominent symbols of this city. It is a structure that is not only significant, but also makes up the outline of the city of Istanbul, and has, in the past, served as a fire watchtower.

The Galata tower Istanbul was first built between 507 and 508 AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinianos, and was then rebuilt between 1348 and 1349 by the Genoese. Boasting of a high conical capped cylindrical tower, the Galata Tower also has nine storeys and is over 200 feet high. In the 14th century, when the tower was built, it was also the tallest structure in all of Istanbul, and offered panoramic vistas of the peninsula and the cityscape.

The tower was originally named as the Tower of Christ, was built using the masonry rubble stone system, with an exterior made of stone mesh. When visiting the Galata tower Istanbul, you can also catch sights of some of the prominent landmarks in the city from the observation gallery. You can also spend some time enjoying the variety of entertainment on the upper floors here. You can also enjoy a traditional Turkish coffee and delicious baklava at the hilltop Pierre Loti Café here.

History of Galata Tower

The Galata tower has a rich and vivid history. The tower in itself, is an amalgamation of the east Roman, Ottoman as well as Genoese elements and characteristics. It is a structure which was built inspired by all of these empires, features of which are easily evident in the architecture of this tower. However, the bigger mystery here is who actually built the Galata tower Istanbul.

Out of the different theories that exist, one suggests that the tower was first built as a lighthouse or watch tower in 528 AD, by Anastasios of the Byzantium Empire. The other theory states that the tower was built in the year 1348 upon the arrival of the Genoese, when the city walls of Galata were built in order to protect it from attacks of invaders.

Upon its construction, the Galata tower Istanbul provided surveillance from the inside of the city walls. Soon after, it became a significant structure for defence of the city in the 14th century. A few years later, during the reign of the Ottoman Empire, the tower was then transformed into a fire detection tower, or a fire watchtower. After that, it was again converted into a dungeon where dockyard prisoners were kept during the rule of Sultan Suleiman.

Throughout history, it has served as an important structure and monument. In addition to that, this is the place where Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi was successful in flying. From being the site where the famous Turkish poet Umit Yaşar Oğuzcan’s son committed suicide to now becoming a museum and home to a restaurant/café, alot has changed with Galata Tower. It also has a terrace which offers spectacular views of the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn as well as the cityscape.

Interesting Facts about Galata Tower

Interesting Facts about Galata Tower
  • The Galata tower Istanbul has served many different roles throughout history, from a defence tower and fire detection tower, to a prison, as well as dormitory for the military, and now, a museum.
  • The tower is located in Karaköy in the city of Istanbul, where the Golden Horn drains into the Bosphorus strait, which forms a natural boundary between Europe and AsiaIt is at the Galata tower where Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi succeeded in flying to Uskudar Dogancan with wooden wings in the year 1638
  • The Galata tower Istanbul originally had a different name, and was known as Christea Turris, or the Tower of Christ when it was built in 1348
  • Upon its completion, the Galata Tower was the tallest building in the city with 9 storeys and a height of 219.5 feet above the ground

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Know Before You Go to Galata Tower

Plan a Visit
Tips to Visit Galata Tower
Plan a Visit

How To Reach

  • By Train: You can avail a train ride from the Ataturk Airport Havalimani to Yenikapi and then to Sishane to get to the Galata Tower.
  • By Bus: You can take a bus ride from the Ataturk Airport to Sishane and then take a short walk to reach the Galata tower.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the Galata tower Istanbul is between the months of August to October, when the weather in the region is pleasant and relatively mild, with longer and sunnier days. Additionally, it is best to reach the tower early in the mornings, at around 09:00 a.m., to avoid longer waiting queues.


Bereketzade, Galata Kulesi, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey.

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Places to Visit Near Galata Tower

Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia

One of the best places to visit near the Galata tower is Hagia Sophia, which ranks amongst the most treasured monuments in the city. Boasting of the traditional Byzantine style of architecture, this heritage monument is a multi-faceted structure. It has served as a Greek orthodox cathedral, and a mosque, and is currently a museum.

The exhibition hall here boasts of an extensive collection of mosaics, along with marble pillars and other elements that date back to several hundred years. It was built in 532 AD, and was known as the largest cathedral in the world up until 1520.

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Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque

Another one of the famous places that you must visit near the Galata tower Istanbul is the Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Known all over the world for its stunning architecture, the mosque is particularly known for its appearance at night.

It shines like a stunning blue diamond due to the reflection that is created from the lights shining from the minarets here. The structure currently functions as a mosque, which is home to the tomb of Sultan Ahmed, and also consists of a madrasah, as well as an infirmary, both of which date back to the early 1600s.

Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace

Located in close proximity to the Galata tower, the Topkapi Palace is one of the best attractions of the city, known for its opulence and grandeur. Dating back to the reign of the Ottoman Empire, the Topkapi Palace was built in 1459 by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. It was used by the Sultan and his many concubines in the 15th and 16th centuries, and houses the Imperial Harem as well.

After the Ottoman reign, the palace was then converted into a museum, where people could see the artefacts and the treasury of the Sultans, including the famous Spoon maker’s diamond and the Topkapi dagger.


Is it worth visiting Galata Tower?

    Yes, it is definitely worth visiting the Galata tower. In addition to being one of the tallest buildings of its time, the tower offers some of the most spectacular 360-degree views of the entire Istanbul peninsula and the cityscape.

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