Galata Tower is one of the symbols of Istanbul and it is situated in Galata, on a hill seeing the historical peninsula of Istanbul from A-Z. The origin of the Galata Tower goes back to the fifth century CE, when Byzantines built a wooden tower named Magalos Pyrgos (Great Tower) in order to control the city of Constantinople and Golden Horn. Due to the fires, earthquakes, and the Sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusaders in 1204 the wooden tower was completely destroyed.
In 1348, Genoese community living in the district of Pera (Galata) built today’s Galata Tower and named it Christea Turris (Tower of Christ). Galata Tower is a cylindrical tower made from stone and it is approximately 67 meters long.
Galata Tower was the tallest building of Istanbul until the construction of Beyazıt Tower in 1749. During the Ottoman period, Galata Tower functioned as jail, observatory house, and watch tower. After the restorations took place in 1960, Galata Tower was commercialized and opened to the public. Today, the tower functions as 360-degree viewing platform of Istanbul.
Galata Tower already gives 360-degree magnificent view of Istanbul and the panorama of Istanbul’s historical peninsula. This one-minute video contains the aerial shots of Galata Tower, Galata district, Golden Horn, and Istanbul’s historical peninsula.
Hezarfen is a short animated film by Tolga Ari and Romain Blanchet, attributes to the story of Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi released in November 2010 in France.
Assasin’s Creed: Revelations is a world-famous adventure game published in 2011 and it takes place in the sixteenth-century Istanbul. As the highest building and point of Istanbul, Galata Tower is a crucial point in the video game and this video shows Ezio’s climbing to Galata Tower and parachuting from there.
Galata Tower has been the best spot for the panorama of Istanbul’s historical peninsula and in the nineteenth century many artists drew the panorama of Istanbul from Galata Tower. For instance, famous French panorama painter Pierre Prévost drew in 1818 his "Panorama de Constantinople" which was later exhibited in Paris in 1825.
According to Evliya Çelebi -who is a historian and traveller- Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew from the balcony of Galata Tower to Üsküdar (district in the Asian side of Istanbul) in 1632, making him the first person to fly from Europe to Asia.
The easiest way to get the Galata Tower is to take M2 metro line and get off at Şişhane Metro Station. Galata Tower is visible from the Şişhane exit of the Şişhane Metro Station and is only five minutes by walking.
Situated in Galata (Pera), the Galata Tower is also close to a number of monuments, museums, and public spaces such as Istiklal Avenue, St. Antoine Church, Pera Museum, Galata Mevlevi House, and Crimean Memorial Church.
Located in the one of the most popular touristy area -Galata- there a number of accommodation options close by to suit all budgets. Some of the recommended hotels the area are Adahan Istanbul, Soho House Istanbul and Pera Palace Jumeirah.
Queues at the Galata Tower can be very long sometimes, since there are two elevators going up to the balcony of the Galata Tower.