Galata Tower is one of the first attractions that come to mind when you think of places to visit in Istanbul. This historic structure, with a height of 63 meters, has been one of the city’s most important symbols for centuries.
It offers visitors a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the Istanbul. The tower, visited by hundreds of thousands of local and foreign tourists each year, is expected to welcome 1.5 million visitors in 2023. It gets its name from the Galata district where it is located.
Now, let’s explore the magnificent Galata Tower, which has been an iconic structure in Istanbul for centuries.
History and Construction of Galata Tower
The original construction of Galata Tower was commissioned by Byzantine Emperor Justinianos as a wooden lighthouse in 507-508 AD.
The first structure was damaged and destroyed during the Latin Invasion in 1204.
The existing tower was rebuilt using the rubble masonry method by the Genoese between 1348 and 1349. At that time, the purpose of the tower changed to a defensive structure.
In 1446, the tower’s height was increased during renovation works.
In 1453, after the conquest of Istanbul, the tower came under the control of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1509, the tower was damaged during the “Little Apocalypse” earthquake in Istanbul. It was restored in 1510 by Architect Murad bin Hayreddin.
Throughout the 1800s, the tower faced various disasters, such as a fire in 1831 and a storm in 1875. After each event, it was restored.
In 1967, during the Republic period, the tower underwent restoration, bringing it to its current form. It was last restored in 2020.
Location of Galata Tower in Istanbul
Galata Tower is located in the Galata district of Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district. It is built in a dominant position on the European side of Istanbul, between Şişhane and Karaköy.
Google Maps Location: Galata Tower
How to Get to Galata Tower in Istanbul
There are many ways to reach Galata Tower.
You can access the tower by turning left at the Galata Tower sign on Tarlabaşı Road while heading towards Taksim. There are many parking lots near the tower where you can park your car and walk to Galata Tower.
If you prefer the metro, you can use the M2 Hacıosman – Yenikapı line. Get off at Şişhane station and walk about 5 minutes to reach the tower.
The T1 Kabataş – Bağcılar tram line is another transportation option. Get off at Karaköy station and walk up the steep hill on the right to reach Galata Tower. The walk is not too long but may be a bit tiring.
First, get to Taksim. Then, walk down İstiklal Avenue towards Karaköy. If you don’t want to walk, you can use the tunnel at the end of İstiklal Avenue as an alternative.
Galata Tower Entrance Fee
If you have a Museum Pass, you can enter Galata Tower for free. Without a Museum Pass, the entrance fee is 350 TL (4/4/2023).
You can visit the official website of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey to purchase e-tickets.
The Man Who Flew from Galata Tower: Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi
Inspired by another Turkish scholar, Ismail Cevheri, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi managed to create a primitive form of modern aircraft.
How did he do it? Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi first studied the flight of birds and conducted preliminary tests of his wooden wings at Okmeydanı, observing the wind. Later, in 1638, he put on the wooden wings and launched himself from Galata Tower in front of a gathered crowd. He glided for 6 km, crossed the Bosphorus and landed in Üsküdar.
Sultan Murad IV, who watched this event from the Sinan Pasha mansion at Sarayburnu, initially took great interest in Hezârfen Ahmet Çelebi. However, he later became suspicious of such a knowledgeable and skilled man, and exiled him to Algeria, where he eventually passed away.
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