Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)

Galata Tower overseeing Bosphorus and Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey


Galata Tower was built in 1348 by Genoese colony in Istanbul. It was built to replace the Megalos Pyrgos (old Galata tower). Megalos Pyrgos (Great Tower) had been destroyed during the Sack of Constantinople (Istanbul) by the Latin Crusaders (4th crusade) in 1204. The main mission of Megalos Pyrgos was to to prevent enemy ships from entering the harbor. Although Galata Tower was built with the intention of replacing Megalos Pyrgos, it was not built at the very same location. Genoese colony named it Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) but the Byzantines preferred to call this new tower again with the name Megalos Pyrgos. When it was built, Galata Tower was the tallest building of the time.

Albumen print of Galata Tower by Pascal Sebah

      Albumen print by Pascal Sébah, some time between 1875–1886

Also there is an urban legend about an iconic flight over the Bosphorus. According to the book Seyahatname which was written by Evliya Celebi who is a famous traveler that has lived in 17th century, Galata Tower witnessed a great event. Hezarfen Ahmed Celebi flew from the top of the Galata Tower to Uskudar with the help of south-west wind using artificial wings.

Galata Tower underwent several restorations during the Ottoman Empire. After 1717, it was used as a fire-observatory tower, the upper part of the tower (the conical roof) was changed to spot fires in Istanbul, but the tower itself unfortunately went through a fire in 1794 during the reign of Sultan Selim III. Another fire took place in 1831 and then a new restoration was made. The conic roof of the tower was severely damaged during a storm in 1875. It stayed without the conic roof during rest of the Ottoman reign.

After many years, Turkish Republic restored the conical roof in 1965-1967. In this final restoration the wooden interior of the tower replaced with a concrete structure and it was opened to public visitation.

There is an also a restaurant and a cafeteria in the tower.

Fun Fact

Galata Tower is featured in famous game Assassins Creed: Revelations.

Visiting Information

Visiting Hours: 09.00 - 19.00

Galata Tower Location Map

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