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.
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.
Fast Facts about Galata Tower
- The tower was built in the 14th century by the Genoese as part of their fortification of the Galata district of Istanbul.
- The tower is 67 meters tall and has nine floors.
- Galata Tower was originally used for military purposes, including as a lookout tower and a prison.
- Today, Galata Tower is a popular tourist attraction, offering panoramic views of Istanbul from its observation deck.
- Visitors can access the observation deck by climbing a narrow spiral staircase or taking an elevator.
- The tower is also home to a restaurant and café on the upper floors.
- In addition to its historical and cultural significance, Galata Tower has been featured in several works of literature and art over the centuries.
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.
Insider Advice: Kickstart your Istanbul adventure with the Istanbul E-Pass or Istanbul Tourist Pass. These passes provide free access to around 70+ top attractions, tours and essential local services in the city with around 70% savings.
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.
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.
Today, the tower is one of the most popular touristic spots in Istanbul and visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.
What to See & Do
When you visit the Galata Tower, there are several things to see and do. Here are some of the top highlights:
Enjoy the Stunning Views
The Galata Tower offers breathtaking views of Istanbul. Visitors can take the elevator or climb the stairs to the top of the tower for a panoramic view of the city.
Visit the Museum
The Galata Tower also houses a small museum that showcases the history of the tower and the surrounding area.
Dine at the Restaurant
There is a restaurant located at the top of the tower where visitors can enjoy a meal while taking in the views.
Explore the Neighborhood
The Galata Tower is located in the lively Galata neighborhood, which is known for its charming streets, boutiques, and cafes.
Tour Galata Tower on Video
Visiting Galata Tower Tips
- The tower can get very crowded, especially during peak tourist season. To avoid the crowds, it’s best to go early in the morning or late in the evening.
- The tower is closed on certain days of the week, so it’s important to plan your visit accordingly.
- If you plan to climb the stairs to the top of the tower, be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
- The views from the top of the tower are best on a clear day, so it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast before you go.
Hours and Fees
Galata Tower is open every day between 08:30 and 23:59.
Tour Booking Advice
- You can buy ticket on the location
- There are variety of guided tours with skip-the-lines entry
- Cross check the prices 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.
Address: Buyuk Hendek road, No:2, Galata, Istanbul
Tel: +90 212 293 57 07