Galata Tower

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Galata Tower
Galata Kulesi
Galata Tower (February 2020)
Former namesTurris Sancte Crucis (Holy Cross Tower)
General information
  • Touristic building
  • museum
  • exhibition place

Architectural styleRomanesque
LocationIstanbul, Turkey
Coordinates41°1′32.36″N 28°58′26.96″E / 41.0256556°N 28.9741556°E / 41.0256556; 28.9741556
Completed1348; 676 years ago (1348)
  • 1453
  • 1510
  • 1794
  • 1832
  • 1875
  • 1965-1967
  • 1999-2000
  • 2020
OwnerDirectorate General of Foundations
Architectural62.59 m (205 ft)
Top floor40.04 m (131 ft)
DiameterInterior: 8.95 m (29.4 ft)
Exterior: 16.45 m (54.0 ft)
Technical details
Structural systemMasonry
Floor count11 (including the basement, the ground floor and the mezzanine)
Grounds208 m2 (2,240 sq ft)

The Galata Tower (Turkish: Galata Kulesi), officially the Galata Tower Museum (Turkish: Galata Kulesi Müzesi), is an old Genoese tower in the Galata part of the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, Turkey. Built as a watchtower at the highest point of the (lost) Walls of Galata,[1] the tower is now an exhibition space and museum, and a symbol of Beyoğlu and Istanbul.


During the Byzantine period the Emperor Justinian had a tower erected in what was to become Galata. This tower was destroyed by the Crusaders during the Sack of Constantinople in 1204.

In 1267 a Genoese colony was established in the Galata part of Constantinople. It was surrounded by walls and the Galata Tower was first built at their highest point as the Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) in Romanesque style[2][3] in 1348 during an expansion of the colony. At the time the Galata Tower, at 219.5 ft (66.9 m), was the tallest building in the city.[4]

After the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Genoese colony was abolished and most of the walls of the citadel were later pulled down in the 19th century, during the northward expansion of the city in the districts of Beyoğlu and Beşiktaş; though small parts of the Genoese walls in Galata have survived.[5][6][7] The tower was allowed to survive and was turned into a prison. It was from its roof that, in 1638, Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi supposedly strapped on wings and made the first intercontinental flight, landing in the Doğancılar Meydanı in Üsküdar on the Asian side of the city, a story of doubtful authenticity recounted by the Ottoman travel writer, Evliya Çelebi.

From 1717, the Ottomans used the tower to look out for fires (on the Old Istanbul side of the city the Beyazıt Tower served the same function). In 1794, during the reign of Sultan Selim III, the roof was reinforced in lead and wood, but the stairs were severely damaged by a fire. Another fire damaged the building in 1831, after which further restoration work took place.

In 1875, the tower's conical roof was destroyed during a storm.[8][9] It remained without this roof for the rest of the Ottoman period but, many years later, during restoration work between 1965 and 1967, the conical roof was reconstructed.[8][9] At the same time the tower's wooden interior was replaced with a concrete structure and it was opened to the public.[10][11]

In 2020 the Tower was splendidly restored then reopened as a museum now open for the public and the many tourists visiting Istanbul. [12]

It is mainly popular for the 360-degree view of Istanbul visible from its observation deck.

Panoramic view from the observation deck of the Galata Tower during the late Ottoman period
View of the Golden Horn and the Seraglio Point (Sarayburnu) from Galata Tower


The nine-story tower is 62.59 m (205.3 ft) excluding the ornament on the top. The observation deck is at 51.65 m (169.5 ft). The tower is 61 m (200 ft) above sea-level. It has an external diameter of 16.45 m (54.0 ft) at the base, an inside diameter of 8.95 m (29.4 ft), and walls that are 3.75 m (12.3 ft) thick.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Galata Tower and the Walls of Galata". Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  2. ^ "Galata Kulesi hikayesi" (in Turkish). Hürriyet. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  3. ^ "MİMARİ'DE TARZ ve ÜSLUP ÖRNEKLEMELERİ" (in Turkish). İREN ELÇİSOY ARCHITECTURE. 30 May 2021. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  4. ^ Katie Hallam (2009). The Traveler's Atlas: Europe. London: Barron's Educational Series.(2009), p. 118-119.
  5. ^ "Galata Tower and the Walls of Galata". Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  6. ^ "Mural Slabs from Genoese Galata". Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  7. ^ "Cenevizlilerden kalan son sur kalıntıları yok olmak üzere". 7 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Time Out Istanbul: "Galata Kulesi'nin eski fotoğraflarda neden farklı göründüğünü merak ettiniz mi?"". Archived from the original on 11 February 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Galata Kulesi: Kısa Tarihçe" Archived 2014-07-15 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Raikwar, Abhishek. "Galata Tower Inside: A Visual Tour of Its Magnificent Decor". Archived from the original on 25 July 2023. Retrieved 25 July 2023.
  11. ^ "İSTANBUL Galata Tower Museum | Turkish Museums".
  12. ^ "Istanbul’s iconic tower reopens after restoration", Hurriyet Daily News, 7 October 2020. (Retrieved 27 November 2022.)

Further reading[edit]

  • Arseven, Celal Esat (1989). Eski Galata ve Binaları (in Turkish) (with new letters ed.). Istanbul: Çelik Gülersoy Vakfı İstanbul Kütüphanesi Yayınları. ISBN 9757512044.
  • Bilginer, Recep (April 1959). "Galata Kulesi". İETT Dergisi (in Turkish). No. 31. pp. 26–27.
  • Demiröz, Yasin; Acarkan, Bora (2016). Tarihi yapılarda dış cephe aydınlatması ve Galata Kulesi uygulaması (PDF). Elektrik, Elektronik ve Biyomedikal Mühendisliği Konferansı (in Turkish). Bursa. pp. 110–114.
  • Gündüz, Doğan (June 2004). "Galata Kulesi'ndeki saatleri ayarlama küresi". Toplumsal Tarih (in Turkish). No. 126.
  • Erkins, Ziya (1970). Galata Kulesi (in Turkish). Istanbul: Yörük Matbaası.
  • Galata Kulesi ve Çevresi Bölge Düzenleme Projesi (in Turkish). Istanbul: Beyoğlu Belediye Başkanlığı Yayınları. 1988.
  • "Artık bizim de bir Eiffel'imiz var: Galata Kulesi". Hayat (in Turkish). No. 27. 26 June 1969. pp. 16–17.
  • "Fener... Zindan... Yangın kulesi... Şimdi de turistik tesis: Galata Kulesi". Hayat (in Turkish). No. 39. 23 September 1965. pp. 16–17.
  • Arifoğlu, Nergiz (19 March 2018). "Galata Kulesi'nin aydınlatma tasarımı süreçleri" (in Turkish). Kaynak Elektrik. Archived from the original on 24 March 2018.

External links[edit]