The Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) is hard to miss. Perched in the medieval Genoese settlement Galata, it keeps watch over the whole city.
Built in the Byzantine period, the tower was once part of the defense system of the Latin Quarter and is still considered the landmark of Galata and even Istanbul today.
The Galata Tower was originally built around 527 under Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was used as a watch tower. Erected in 1348-49 by the Genoese as a Tower of Christ, it marked the top of a fortress built to defend the independence of the Genoese colony of Galata, which was just across from Constantinople. Part of the fortress, a long narrow rectangle parallel to the Golden Horn, has been preserved below the tower, but the remains of the fortress walls were completely destroyed in the mid-19th century. Despite repeated damage, the Galata Tower, which survived not only a series of earthquakes but also storms and fires, withstood all this. In 1967, it was restored by the master architect Köksal Anadol. After all these years, he restored the original elevation and reconstructed the conical roof of the Galata Tower, whose top serves as one of the most beautiful viewpoints over Istanbul today.
With its cylindrical structure, the 67 meter high Galata Tower still dominates the northern shore of the Golden Horn. After the conquest of 1453, the Ottomans took over the tower and stationed the janissary troops of the sultan here. Used as a prison for prisoners of war in the 15th century, it served as a watchtower from the 16th century and as a fire station from the late Ottoman era until the 1960s. Later, the Galata Tower including the fortress and the fountain was privatized, renovated and opened for tourism.
The Galata Tower has a total of nine floors. In the entrance hall, which also houses a small souvenir shop, there are two elevators that run to the seventh floor. A wooden spiral staircase leads from here to the last two floors, where a restaurant with a magnificent 360 degree panoramic view of the city and access to the observation deck is offered. With a thickness of more than 3 meters, the walls of the Galata Tower show its massive stability. Apart from the arched windows in the two upper levels there are only a few openings. They were probably used for disguised observation and guarding.
You can enjoy the view of the city on the top of the tower and also while enjoying your meal in the restaurant.