Galata Tower is a tower located in Beyoğlu district of Istanbul city of Turkey. It takes its name from the district of Galata where it is located. Built as a watchtower within the Galata Walls, the tower is now used as an exhibition area and museum for touristic purposes, together with the various elements it contains. It is one of the symbolic structures of Beyoğlu and Istanbul. Galata Tower, one of the most beautiful options you can add to your list of places to visit in Istanbul, has been called by different names in the past. For example, the Byzantines named the tower Megalos Pyrgos, that is, the Great Bastion. The Genoese preferred to use the name Christtea Turris (Jesus Tower) when talking about the building. There is a common belief that the origin of its current name is derived from the word “Gala”, which means “milk” in Greek. In some sources, it is mentioned that the name of the building, which has been widely used for centuries, may be of Thracian origin or Italian.
The History of Galata Tower
The tower was built by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius Oilosuz in 528. Of course, at that time, the building was a little far from its current location. The building, intended to guide sailors as a lighthouse tower, was completely made of wood when it first appeared on the stage of history. Despite this, it managed to stay standing for almost seven centuries and fulfill its duty properly. However, the Latin invasion of 1204 was the end of the first version of the tower. Because IV. Galata Tower was severely damaged as a result of the fire that broke out during the pillage initiated by the army formed for the Crusade on the way back. When the calendars showed the year 1348, the Genoese once again built the tower using the masonry stone technique. Because of its location, it is believed that the presence of the Galata Tower will significantly facilitate the defense of the city. With the Ottoman domination of Istanbul in 1453, the iconic structure was assigned duties other than defense and observation. Galata Tower was transformed into a place where Christian shipyard prisoners used as labor force in the 16th century. In the same period, an observatory was established by Takiyüddin with the permission of Murat III. However, this initiative was short-lived due to his perspective on positive sciences at that time. Galata Tower has been used for fire observation and informing the public since the 17th century. Even the tower itself, which was turned into a Mehteran Furnace in order to announce that it is midnight in the 18th century, has been hit twice by the famous fires of Istanbul. On the other hand, the works that gave the current appearance of the tower, whose roof was knocked down due to the storm, were carried out between 1965 and 1967.
After visiting the terrace of the tower, if you do not have a budget or time restriction, you can experience Flyride. Flyride tickets are on sale at the entrance of the tower.
A separate section has been created on the second floor of the tower for the flyride. The virtual helicopter tour, which takes place in the four-dimensional simulation room, starts from Galata Tower.
The tour includes all the historical buildings and districts that can be seen from the terrace floor of the building. The level of realism of the simulation is well adjusted. In this way, you can deeply experience the feeling that you are in a helicopter and touring Istanbul.
How to get to Galata Tower?
If you want to walk to the area where the tower is located on Istiklal Street, just turn left from the street before Tunnel and follow the road that goes down.Those who want to reach Galata from Eminönü, on the other hand, have to make some effort and risk climbing the slope to have enjoyable hours. On this route, there are shops where you can buy souvenirs. The only method that will allow you to reach the tower without traffic problems is to use the subway. After getting off at the Şişhane Stop of the metro, you have to get out from the Refik Saydam Caddesi direction and take a short walk of about 300 meters to get to the building.