Galata Tower Istanbul: what to see, tickets, visiting tips

The Galata Tower is undoubtedly one of the most famous monuments in Istanbul, providing the most spectacular views of the whole city. It offers stunning views over the entire Istanbul peninsula and its surrounds and is located at the confluence of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. It is also one of Istanbul’s most prominent attractions, overlooking Galata and Karakoy from its perch. Its brilliant lights can be seen from all across the city at night.

Quick Overview

Galata Tower have been built by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius in 508, has a height of 69.90 meters and is known to have a wall thickness of 3.75 meters. The inner diameter of the tower is 8.95 meters and the outer diameter is 16.45 meters, and the number of stairs inside the tower is 146. The weight of the magnificent structure, which is formed by the processing of rubble stones, reaches 10 thousand tons.

Galata Tower, Galata Bridge, Karakoy district and Golden Horn at morning, istanbul – Turkey

Quick History

Although it is unknown when the Galata Tower was created, it is widely assumed that it was built during the rule of Byzantine Emperor Justinian, about 507 CE. The Genoese called it the ‘Christea Turris,’ or the Tower of Christ, at the time, while the Byzantines called it the ‘Megalos Pyrgos,’ or the Great Tower.

The tower, however, took on its final structure during the Genoese period, when the Galata area was occupied by the colonies of the Republic of Genoa, which acted as a series of commercial and trading stations in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

Aerial evening shot of the Galata Tower in Istanbul, Turkey. Aerial view of landmark at golden hour with beautiful sunlight.

The tower was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1509, but it was reconstructed by Hayreddin, the famed Ottoman architect who also erected the renowned Sultan Bayezid II complex in Edirne. The tower served a totally different use during the time of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. It was used to house captives sentenced to labor at the Kasimpasa Naval Dockyard.

By the end of the 16th century, the astronomer Takiyuddin Efendi had constructed an observatory at the very top. Still, the tower was destined to become a jail once again under the reign of Sultan Murat III from 1546 to 1595.

Galata tower was also used for different purposes during the Ottoman period such as an observatory and a prison. However, it mostly served as a fire observation tower. The tower is also the place where Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi put on wings and put himself into space and realized his first flight experience.

A beautiful girl tourist taking photo on her smartphone and enjoying the view of historical center of Istanbul from the top of the Galata Tower

Today, the tower is one of the most popular touristic spots in Istanbul and visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Tour Galata Tower on Video

Hours and Fees

Galata Tower is open every day between 08:30 and 23:59.

Ticket Options

  • Entrance to Galata Tower is 130 TL
  • There are also variety of guided tours with skip-the-lines entry
  • Cross check from muze.gen.tr

Getting to Galata Tower Tips

Galat tower is located in Galata neighborhood, just across the Karakoy ferry dock, or downwards the end of the famous Istiklal street, which belongs to Beyoglu district. See on google map.

For those coming from Eminonu or Sultanahmet areas, can take the Kabatas-Bagcilar T1 tram line passing through Karakoy, and get off at Karakoy stop.

For those coming from Kabatas or Besiktas areas, can take the Kabatas-Bagcilar T1 tram line passing through Karakoy, and get off at Karakoy stop.

For those coming from Taksim area, can walk down the Istiklal street to the end, turn left from the Galip dede street and see the tower. Or from Taksim square, take the funicular to Kabatas and than take the Kabatas-Bagcilar tram line.

For those on the Asian side of Istanbul, can take the ferry to Karakoy or take the Marmaray line from Uskudar and get off at the Sirkeci stop. From Sirkeci you can take the Kabatas-Bagcilar tram line passing through Karakoy, and get off at Karakoy stop.

Contact

Address: Buyuk Hendek road, No:2, Galata, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 293 57 07

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