Galata Tower

Galata Kulesi

If you want to see the most beautiful sunset in Istanbul, you should definitely go to the top of the Galata Tower, which opens a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view on historical and modern Istanbul. Being the symbol of Istanbul at a certain point, the Galata Tower attracted a famous Russian marine artist Ivan Aivazovsky, who depicted it in 1846. Galata district is a place for creative people, where they dance flamenco, play jazz or exhibit their paintings in the galleries. Designer boutiques of clothes, leather products and accessories are located here. Moreover, it is believed that somewhere near the tower there is a subterranean route to the sea.

Built by the Genoese in 1349 as a part of Galata fortification system, this picturesque tower can be seen from any place in the central part of the city. "The Tower of Christ", as it was called by the Genoese, except serving its defensive functions, was also an navigation landmark for sailors and merchants. Some fragments of the defensive wall and trench have survived up till nowadays. Their existence is proven by the names of two old neighboring streets, the Big trench street and the Small trench street. After the earthquake of 1509 the Galata Tower was overbuilt and the rooms in its lower floors were used as a prison. During the rule of Sultan Murad III (1574-1595) the tower was used for an observatory. After the reconstruction of the upper platform a special ward observed the city days and nights and noticing any signs of fire notified the firefighters and the citizens about the possible danger.

In 1632 the tower got related to one of the first flights in history, getting the name of Hezârfen Tower. According to the legend, a scientist named Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi (nicknamed by the Ottomans as "a thousand sciences"), becoming the first Turkish aviator, jumped from the upper floor of the tower using self-made wings. He flew over the Bosporus and landed in the Asian part of the city later to be awarded a purse of gold by the sultan and then exiled in Algeria, where he eventually died.

After the reconstruction (1964-1967) a cone-shaped dome of the Galata Tower was rebuilt, successfully fitting the architecture of the city. An elevator to the observation deck was installed inside the tower as an alternative to an ancient stone spiral stairway. Two top floors are occupied by a restaurant and a cafe, where it is possible to see belly-dance and other Turkish folklore.

Address: Bereketzade Mh., Galata Kulesi, Beyoğlu
Opening hours: оbservation deck Mon-Sun 9 am – 7 pm, restaurant Mon-Sat 9 am – 1 am, сlosed on Sun
How to reach: Karaköy (TR1)
Coordinates: 41.025625, 28.974168