The Galata Tower
Address: Büyükhendek Sokak, Şişhane Beyoğlu
Phone: (0212) 293 8183
(0212) 244 7736
Web Site: www.ibb.gov.tr
Working Hours: Every day: 9:00-18:00
The Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) is, along with such structures as Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Bosphorus Bridge, one of the most recognizable and emblematic parts of the Istanbul skyline. At a height of 67 meters (219 feet), the tower can be seen from many neighboring districts of the city. The tower was built in 1348 (the year of the Black Death) by Genoese merchants residing in Galata, as the traditional dwelling-place of foreigners from Western Europe under the late Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
The tower's distinctive conical roof fell off the tower during a storm in 1875 and was not replaced until renovations nearly a century later.
Over its long history, the tower has been variously used as a shipyard warehouse, a prison (during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent), a lighthouse, and a fire lookout tower. In the 1630s, Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi is said to have glided from the top of the tower to the Asian side, thus achieving the first unpowered flight in human history.
Today, the 12-story structure is a tourist site that offers a wonderful panoramic view of the city, both across the Golden Horn and up the Bosphorus. On a clear day you can see as far as the Princes’ Islands, and the tower also has a café and restaurant where you can enjoy the view over a meal or Turkish coffee, with fasil (traditional Turkish classical music) and dancing in the evenings.