Galata Tower

Photo by: Jorge Láscar, CC

The Galata Tower, also known as the Tower of Christ, is a medieval stone tower in Istanbul, Turkey. It is located to the north of the Golden Horn. This is one of the city’s most amazing landmarks. It has a very high, cone-capped cylinder that juts out into the city’s skyline.


The 9-story tower is about 219 feet tall and has an observation deck. By the time of completion, this was then city’s tallest structure. This tower has external diameter of almost 54 feet at its base, an inside diameter of about 29 feet and the walls have a thickness of over 12 feet.

On the upper floors of the tower there is a restaurant and a café. From here visitors can get a great view of Istanbul and the Bosphorous. There is also a panorama balcony that encircles the very highest row of windows. It is narrow and open to weather and is therefore not recommended for people with a fear of heights. You will also find a night club which hosts a Turkish show. There are two elevators to get you from one level to another.


Galata Tower was initially built during the expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople in 1348. It was by then the tallest building in Istanbul. It was actually the apex of fortifications that surrounded the Genoese citadel of the Galata. During the Ottoman Empire, the upper part of the tower was modified in several different restorations. It was by then used as the observation deck for spotting fires.

Starting in 1717, Ottomans began using the tower to spot fires in and around the city. During the reign of Sultan Selim III in 1794, the tower’s roof and stairs were seriously destroyed by a fire. Later, in 1831, another fire damaged the building. After this new restoration work took place.

In 1875, during a very heavy storm, the roof at the top of this tower was destroyed. Due to this damage, the tower remained without the conic roof for the rest of the Ottoman period. Finally, from 1965 to 1967, during the Turkish Republic, the original cap of the tower was finally restored.

During the final restoration process that took place in 1960’s, the original wooden interior of Galata Tower was replaced with a concrete structure. The tower was then commercialized and opened to the general public.

Istanbul Famous Landmarks

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