The Galata Tower

The Galata Tower is one of the most attractive places as a symbol in the silhouette of Istanbul. This stone tower was built by the Genoese settled in Galata in the period of Orhan Bey of the Ottoman. It is called Megalos Pyrgos (The Great Tower) in the Byzantine sources and Christea Turris (the Tower of Christ) by the Genoese. [1]

The tower, which was built in 1348, began to be ruled by the Ottomans who conquered Istanbul in 1453. Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror visited Galata on 3rd June, 1453. [2]

The tower was greatly damaged in the earthquake in 1509 and it was fixed and rebuilt by the famous architect of the period named Hayreddin. It was used as a prison for the prisoner workers being worked in the Shipyard of Kasımpaşa in the ruling of Sultan Kanuni. Chief Astrologer Takiyuddin Efendi found an observatory in the tower under the Sultan Selim the third’s approval. Then, the Sultan closed the observatory and turned it again into a prison. Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi flew from Galata to Üsküdar in the ruling of the Sultan Murad the fourth. The tower was begun to be used as a watchtower for fires after 1717. The tower itself burned in 1794. Sultan Selim the third had the tower restored, and had it added bay windows upstairs. There was fire again in the tower in 1831 and two more floors were added this time in the ruling of the Sultan Mahmud II. The tower, which was restored from 1960s, is used as a touristic place. Its height is 63 meters. Its external diameter is about 17 meters and the inner diameter is about 9 meters. [3]


[1] Osmanlı’yı İmparatorluk Yapan Şehir, Mustafa Armağan, Timaş Yayınları, 2. Baskı, 2007, İstanbul s.29

[2] Özdemir Kaptan (Arkan), Beyoğlu – Beyoğlu ve Kısa Geçmişi, Aybay Yayınları, İstanbul, 1988

[3] İstanbul’u Dinliyorum Gözlerim Açık, Haldun Hürel, Kapı Yayınları, İstanbul, 2015, s645-647