One of the iconic places of Istanbul is Galata Tower with its colorful lights that can be seen at nights from all over the city.
Though, the history of Galata Tower is not known for sure, it was said to be constructed during Byzantine Emperor Justinian reign around 507 CE. The tower was called by the Genoese as the ‘Christea Turris,’ or the Tower of Christ, whereas the Byzantines called it as the ‘Megalos Pyrgos,’ or the Great Tower.
Due to their economic and trade posts service in Mediterranean and Black Seas, Genoese colonies inhabited the Galata neighborhood, that’s when the tower took its current shape.
After the earthquake in 1509, Galata Tower heavily damaged, thus renovated by famous Ottoman architect, Hayreddin who also constructed renowned Sultan Bayezid II complex in Edirne. Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent used the tower for a different purpose however. Prisoners who were sentenced to Kasımpasa Naval Dorkyard were hold in Galata Tower. Then, the astrologer, Takiyuddin Efendi added an observatory to Galata tower at the end of “6th century, however, it was turned into a prison again by Sultan Murat III during his reign. Around 17th century, Galata Tower used by Mehter Band, The Ottoman military band, and afterwards, due to its perfect bird eye view it became a fire observatory.
After facing two fires in 1794 and 1831, Galata Tower was restored by the emperors of the era.
Nowadays, Galata Tower is a highly popular touristic attraction, you can go to top of Galata Tower and enjoy the spectacular 360-degree view of Istanbul.
Don’t be afraid, you don’t have to climb all the way up, you can use the elevator for first 7 floors, and then you should climb the stairs.
You can reach Galata Tower, by walking down through Istiklal Street, and you will see it at the end. Many tourists visit Galata Tower, that’s why best visiting hours are in the morning at opening hours and in the evening near closing hours. That’s very important if you don’t want to wait in long, unending queue.
Galata Tower is not free unfortunately, but there is a rumor that you marry with the man you first climb with. So, it may worth the fee 😊
Galata Tower should be definitely in your to-do list in Istanbul with its amazing overlooking from its perched position.