Galata Tower
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Galata Tower
Galata Tower
Galata Kulesi
Galata tower istanbul.jpg
View of the Galata Tower from a nearby street in the historic Galata (Karaköy) quarter within the Beyo?lu (Pera) district of Istanbul
Galata Tower is located in Istanbul Fatih
Galata Tower
Location in Istanbul Fatih
Coordinates41°1?32.36?N 28°58?26.96?E / 41.0256556°N 28.9741556°E / 41.0256556; 28.9741556
LocationIstanbul, Turkey
Width16.54 m (54.3 ft)
Height66.9 m (219 ft)
Completion date1348 A.D.[1]

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/Karaköy quarter of Istanbul, Turkey, just to the north of the Golden Horn's junction with the Bosphorus. It is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and offers a panoramic vista of Istanbul's historic peninsula and its environs.


The nine-story tower is 66.90 m (219.5 ft) (62.59 m (205.3 ft) without the ornament on top, 51.65 m (169.5 ft) at the observation deck), and was the city's tallest structure when it was built. The elevation at ground level is 61 m (200 ft) above sea-level. The tower 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.

There is a restaurant and café on its upper floors which have views 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.


Albumen print of the Galata Tower, taken by Pascal Sébah some time between 1875 and 1886. Here the tower has the cupola that was built after the storm of 1875. The present-day conical top is a reconstruction of a previous one, and was built during restoration works between 1965 and 1967.

The Romanesque style tower was built as Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. Galata Tower was the tallest building in Istanbul at 219.5 ft (66.9 m) when it was built in 1348.[2] It was built to replace 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.[3]

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.

Galata Tower with its previous conical roof, depicted in a painting by Ivan Aivazovsky in 1846. The previous conical roof was destroyed by a storm in 1875. The current conical roof was built during restoration works between 1965 and 1967.

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.[4] 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 was 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.

Galata Tower with Turkey flag silhouette

In 1875, during a storm, the conical roof on the top of the building was destroyed.[5][6] The tower remained without this conical roof for the rest of the Ottoman period. Many years later, during the restoration works between 1965 and 1967, the conical roof was reconstructed.[5][6] 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 his "Panorama de Constantinople" in 1818, which was later exhibited in Paris in 1825.[7] The panorama image shown below is composed of ten photos[8] taken from the Galata Tower by the photographic firm of Sébah & Joaillier, and is likely to have been taken in the 1880s.

Panoramic view from the observation deck of the Galata Tower during the late Ottoman period

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ "Kara-Keui (Galata) and View of Pera, Constantinople, Turkey". World Digital Library. 1890-1900. Retrieved .
  2. ^ Katie Hallam (2009). The Traveler's Atlas: Europe. London: Barron's Educational Series.(2009), p. 118-119.
  3. ^ Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991), Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, p. 815, ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6
  4. ^ Evliya Çelebi (1611-1682). Seyahatname. Istanbul: Yap? Kredi Kültür Sanat Yay?nc?l?k (2003), p. 318.
  5. ^ a b Time Out Istanbul: "Galata Kulesi'nin eski foto?raflarda neden farkl? göründü?ünü merak ettiniz mi?"
  6. ^ a b "Galata Kulesi: K?sa Tarihçe" Archived 2014-07-15 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Louis du Chalard & Antoine Gautier, "Les panoramas orientaux du peintre Pierre Prévost (1764-1823)", in Orients, Bulletin de l'association des anciens élèves et amis des langues orientales, juin 2010, p.85-108.
  8. ^ Panorama of Constantinople, Taken from the Galata Tower World Digital Library. Library of Congress. Retrieved December 3, 2010.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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