Galata Tower

The Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi in Turkish) — called Christea Turris (the Tower of Christ in Latin) by the Genoese — is a medieval stone tower in the Galata district of Istanbul, Turkey, just to the north of the Golden Horn. One of the city's most striking landmarks, it is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and affords a panoramic vista of Old Istanbul and its environs.

Description

The nine-story tower is 66.90 meters tall (62.59 m without the ornament on top, 51.65 m at the observation deck), and was the city's tallest structure when it was built. The elevation at ground level is 35 meters above sea-level. The tower has an external diameter of 16.45 meters at the base, an 8.95 meters diameter inside, and walls that are 3.75 meters thick.

There is a restaurant and café on its upper floors which commands a magnificent view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. Also located on the upper floors is a nightclub which hosts a Turkish show. There are two operating elevators that carry visitors from the lower level to the upper levels.

History

The tower was built as Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. It was the apex of the fortifications surrounding the Genoese citadel of Galata. The current tower should not be confused with the old Tower of Galata, an original Byzantine tower named Megalos Pyrgos (English: Great Tower) which controlled the northern end of the massive sea chain that closed the entrance to the Golden Horn. That tower was on a different site and was largely destroyed in 1203, during the Fourth Crusade of 1202–1204.

The upper section of the tower with the conical cap was slightly modified in several restorations during the Ottoman period when it was used as an observation tower for spotting fires.

According to the Seyahatname of Ottoman historian and traveller Evliya Çelebi, in circa 1630-1632, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew as an early intercontinental aviator using artificial wings for gliding from this tower over the Bosphorus to the slopes of Üsküdar on the Anatolian side, nearly six kilometres away. Evliyâ Çelebi also tells of Hezarfen's brother, Lagari Hasan Çelebi, performing the first flight with a rocket in a conical cage filled with gunpowder in 1633.

Starting from 1717 the Ottomans began to use the tower for spotting fires in the city. In 1794, during the reign of Sultan Selim III, the roof of the tower made of lead and wood, and the stairs were severely damaged by a fire. Another fire damaged the building in 1831, upon which a new restoration work took place. In 1875, during a storm, the conic roof on the top of the building was destroyed. The tower remained without this conic roof for the rest of the Ottoman period.

Many years later, in 1965-1967, during the Turkish Republic, the original conical cap was restored. During this final restoration in the 1960s, the wooden interior of the tower was replaced by a concrete structure and it was commercialized and opened to the public.

From the top of the tower, the first French panorama painter Pierre Prévost drew in 1818 his "Panorama de Constantinople" later exposed in Paris in 1825.

The panorama image shown below is composed of ten photos taken from the Galata Tower by the photographic firm of Sébah & Joaillier, and is most likely to have been taken in the 1880s.

References and notes

Шаблон:Reflist

External links

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sibel a.
29 June 2014
Galata Tower, XIV century Genoese tower, 67m height. The best place to see the sunset in Istanbul (Europe and Asia, Bosphorus and the Golden Horn). This is a view which is really historical...
Samira
14 August 2015
It is one of the dominating landmarks in istanbul, it was used as a watchtower.(16 floors/67 M).make sure to enjoy the views 360° from the outer balcony because they're panoramic and breathtaking.
eylem basakimiz
15 June 2013
You can't miss seeing this distinctive structure from most places on both side of Bosphorus.The view from the observation deck near the top's awesome in all directions & will have u taking many photos
Ela Morgendorffer
11 August 2014
18,5 TL (6,5€) entrance. You can enjoy an interesting view of Istanbul, both Asian and European sides, but it's a big expensive compare to its offer. Cafeteria ultra expensive.
Sergei Chukhan
26 August 2015
One of must visit place in Istanbul, but a lot of people want to see the landscape from this tower. So you should stay in a queue.
Kitsos Mitsos
3 January 2013
12 TL for entering the tower. It provides an elevator to the restaurant floor and then you have to climb few stairs. Perfect view to the city. Recommended if the queue is not that big.
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