Galata Tower: A Timeless Icon of Istanbul

Discover the history, beauty, and panoramic views of this iconic landmark

The Galata Tower is located in the Galata part of the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul. It is one of the oldest towers and monumental structures in the world, and was originally built in 528 by the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian. 

In the days of the Eastern Roman Empire, the tower was used for defense and as a lighthouse. It was largely destroyed in 1024, during the Fourth Crusade.

The bastion, which constitutes the basis of today's Galata Tower, protected the northern side of Galata’s walls against threats coming from overland. It was located in the exact spot where the walls of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus merge.

The Eastern Romans called the main tower of the walls the Great Tower (Megalos Pyrgos). The Genoese called it Jesus Tower (Christea Turris). The Kastellion Tower, an Eastern Roman structure marking the Galata end of the chain that closed the Golden Horn, was on the edge of this section of the walls.

The Galata Tower was used for many different purposes: watchtower, dungeon, weapons storage, observatory, firewatch tower. It was damaged by earthquakes and fires, and was repaired many times during the Ottoman period.

Between 1965 and 1967, the tower was restored and converted into a museum, with each floor serving a different purpose. The roof of the tower was also rebuilt to its original design from 1832 to 1876.

The upper floors of the Galata Tower, which was one of the highest buildings in Istanbul until the middle of the 20th century, have one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city.

The Inscription above the Gate of Galata TowerThe Directorate General of Cultural Assets and Museums of Türkiye

There is an inscription on the southern entrance of the tower. The inscription describes the repair and restoration works carried out in 1831-1832 and includes a poem by the Şair Pertev.

The Inscription on the Wall of Galata Tower (For the celebration of 500th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul)The Directorate General of Cultural Assets and Museums of Türkiye

At the ground floor level on the southern side, there is an inscription placed in 1953, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul.

Today, the tower is used as an observation deck and museum. It is a tourist attraction and one of the symbols of Beyoğlu and Istanbul.

The Galata Tower was included in the UNESCO tentative list of World Heritage Sites in 2013, along with the Genoese towers in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

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