Galata Tower has dominated Beyoğlu‘s skyline since 1348 and still offers the best panoramic views of the city.
Above, the Golden Horn, Seraglio Point and Old Istanbul as seen from Galata Tower (looking south).
Originally named the Tower of Christ, the 66.9-meter (220-foot)-high tower was the highpoint in the city walls of the Genoese colony called Galata. Most of the walls are long gone, but the great tower , with its 3.75-meter (12-foot)-thick walls remains.
The Galata Tower was built by the Genoese in mid-fourteenth century as part of the Galata Walls when Galata quarter was a Genoese colony in the Byzantine Era. After it was used as a dungeon for some time in the Ottoman Era, it was converted to a fire lookout tower. The tower which suffered damages due to earthquakes and fires from time to time underwent several renovations during the Ottoman Era. The tower that had fallen into ruins by 1960s was restored by Istanbul Municipality and opened for visitors. The Galata Tower was restored by the General Directorate of Foundations in 2020, and the reinforced concrete elements which were added later, and the cafeteria were removed, and the Tower reopened its gates to visitors as a museum.
The base of the tower measures 16.5 metres on the outside and 8.9 inside, meaning the walls are 3.7 metres thick at the base!
The thickness of the walls decreases as you climb the tower, and at the top, it’s only 20 centimetres thick.
In the Galata Tower museum, artefacts are displayed, reflecting all the historical periods of Istanbul that has been populated since prehistoric times and served as a capital for sixteen centuries for three great empires. One of the tallest buildings in Istanbul until the mid-20th century, the Galata Tower has one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Istanbul that you can enjoy on the top floor. The Tower is in the tentative list of Unesco World Heritage Sites along with the Genoese Towers in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
Galata Tower Museum Winter Period
1 November – 1 April
Opening time: 10:00
Closing time: 19:00