The skyline of Turkey is filled with towers and forts that still hum the tunes of war flutes. One of the most dominant ones amongst them is the Galata Tower. Built back in the 13th century AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian the Great, it served as a watchtower for several decades. Later, the Geonese colony fortified the region of Pera in 1267 and constructed the Galata Citadel. The Galata Tower was situated at the highest point of the fortification by the Walls of Galata. Surviving multiple wars, storms, earthquakes, reconstructions, and restorations, this place speaks many tales in many tongues. The Galata Tower inside the very famous Beyoglu district is a must-visit while touring Istanbul.
The Turkish invasion in the 15th century altered the face of the tower and sometime later it was turned into a prison. The walls were pulled down, the ruins of which still narrate the heroic stories of the fighters who stood in defence. It was being used as a watchtower by the rulers as it still served as the highest point in the town, providing a panoramic view overlooking the Bosphorus Strait, the Golden Horn of Istanbul, and the Anatolian shore of Uskudar. Between 1965 to 1967, the wooden interior and artworks of the tower were covered with concrete, and the roof was renovated after its destruction in a storm. Finally, it was opened to the public in the same year.
It is the largest museum in Turkey and is one of the most popular ones. The Galata Tower Museum can provide you with amazing insights and facts about the Roman, Byzantine, and Constantine past. Starting from the Turkish Invasion to the Crusades, this place makes the undulating history of Europe come back to life. The various historical objects and antiques that were excavated by archeologists are preserved in this museum which was opened in 2020. The Galata Tower interior that was originally carved with wood is now covered in concrete and plaster.
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Inside the Galata Tower, the lower floors are dedicated to exhibiting the multiple facets of the history of the Galata Tower. There are panels elaborating on the 1923 liberation of Istanbul from the occupying forces. There are models of mediaeval boats that were used by the Geonese traders as well. It is one of the oldest towers in the world and the excavations that are up for exhibition here reveal a lot about the enchanting past of the Galata Tower.
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The Galata Tower inside is divided into several sections after it was privatised. There is a compact, yet vibrant, souvenir shop situated near the entrance of the Galata Tower. In this shop, you will find souvenirs depicting landscapes of Istanbul depicted on small cards and plates, and sculptures as well as pictures of the Galata Tower over tiny magnets. Choose the perfect souvenir from here to take back home and make memories that last a lifetime. These artefacts can make great gifts to take back home or to make your own collection too.
There are interactive screens that portray the legends of Hezarfin Ahmet Celebi and provide an opportunity for visitors to participate in a quiz about Istanbul. There is also a short film shown here that depicts the old Istanbul and the life of the people in this region during the ancient and mediaeval eras. You can learn a lot about what this place has been through over the ages. The audio-visual exposure makes the experience of the visitor much better.
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The beautifully semi-arched windows, the brick structures, and the appearance of the building are a visual representation of the fascinating history of Europe. The Galata Tower in itself is a very important historical destination that represents the war-torn European past. Its interiors were covered in concrete in the last century, but before that, even the walls of this tower were carved in wood. The exterior of the tower is still set in the same manner, there have been renovations but no major change has been made. The artefacts available in the museum and exhibition hall tell interesting stories about the eventful past of the Galata Tower.
You can take the spiralling staircase from the 7th floor to the 9th floor to marvel at the extensive view of the entire town. Witness the Bosphorus Strait and the Golden Horn of Istanbul, also known as the Halic Chain, bordering the coastline of the Beyoglu district. There is a narrow balcony that you can stand upon to soak in the salty air and the spectacular view. However, this part of the tower is not accessible by wheelchair, so it will be difficult for people with disabilities to get up here.
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The Galata Tower stands as a symbol of Istanbul's rich heritage and the blending of different cultures and civilizations that have shaped the city over centuries
Marvel at the panoramic views of Istanbul's skyline from the top of Galata Tower
Enjoy delicious refreshments from the in-house cafe and restaurant at your own cost with the awe-inspiring vistas of the city
Book the Galata Tower tickets and capture picture-perfect memories as you see a mesmerizing sunset
The Galata Tower, an iconic landmark in Istanbul, offers a captivating experience inside its historic walls. Upon entering, visitors are transported to a bygone era, with its stone archways and winding staircase leading to the top. The interior boasts a small museum showcasing the tower's history, including its use as an observation point and a prison during the Ottoman era. As you ascend, the narrow windows reveal breathtaking panoramic views of Istanbul's skyline, the Bosphorus Strait, and the Golden Horn. The tower's cozy café invites you to savor Turkish coffee or tea while taking in the mesmerizing scenery. The Galata Tower offers an immersive journey through time and a glimpse into Istanbul's rich past.
Yes, there is a lift inside the Galata Tower that goes up to the 7th floor. There are 9 floors altogether, so you need to take the stairs to the topmost two floors. Hence, the observation deck on the 9th floor is difficult to access for people with disabilities.
There are a lot of places to explore inside Galata Tower, like the Exhibition Hall, the Museum, the Observation Deck, and the historic staircase. You will also find interactive screens, mediaeval boat models, and animated film screenings happening here as well.
The Galata Tower has provisions for wheelchairs up to the 7th floor only. The tower consists of 9 floors, so the top two floors are accessible only by a spiral staircase. Most of the Galata Tower steps are not in use apart from the top two levels as mentioned above.
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Yes, the interiors of the Galata Tower was covered with concrete before opening it to the public back in the 20th century. The place was converted to a museum in 2020, and since then, the tower and the observation deck both attract a massive footfall every year.
There is no dress code as such to visit the Galata Tower. However, it is recommended to wear comfortable clothes as there is a lot of walking and stair-climbing required to tour the place. Keep an eye on the weather conditions on the day of your visit. The place can get chilly during the night, so take proper precautions.
Yes, the visitors can go inside the Galata Tower as this place was opened for public visit back in 1967. There was a restaurant that was in operation till 2020, but currently it is closed. However, this attraction has been turned into a museum, and is now accessible to all as a tourist attraction spot.
The opening hours of this historic destination begin at 8:30 AM. You are allowed to click Galata Tower photos inside the premises as well. The ticket counter closes at 10 PM and the tower closes its gates at 11 PM. So, you can tour the place for just an hour if you reach the last at the latest hour of admission.
The busiest time to visit the place is during the sunset as the place looks magical during this time. This place is quite famous as a sunset point for tourists because the sight from the balcony is truly enchanting, especially during the golden hour. Book your tickets in advance if you plan to visit during this time as the queues can get really long. It will save a lot of time and also offer you a nice spot to view the sunset.