The Invincible Part of Istanbul Silhouette: Galata Tower

Galata Tower, which is one of the symbols of Istanbul, has become a popular place in recent times with the influence of Instagram photographs. The tower, which has been used as a prison and observation tower throughout history and also for military purposes, is a frequent destination for photograph lovers today.

It is not as famous as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but it is older than it. Like the Maiden’s Tower, it has witnessed the greatest states of the time since the 6th century and the history of Istanbul. Whether you take photographs from Uskudar today or from the Bosphorus, the Galata Tower, the unchanging part of the Istanbul silhouette, is the first prominent place.

The Galata Tower, which was built of wood by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius Dilorus as a lighthouse tower in 528 and called “Great Horoscope”, was rebuilt with masonry stone by the Genovese in 1348 with the name “Jesus Tower”. When Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror conquered Istanbul in 1453, the tower in the Genoese area passed to the Ottoman Empire.


The tower, which was damaged by the earthquake in II. Bayezid time, was repaired and used as an observatory by the astrologer Takiyiddin. The prison called “Forsa” of the prisoners of war who worked in Kasimpasa shipyards was used as an observatory until 1579.

With the establishment of the fire brigade in 1714, Galata Tower, the place where the fires in Istanbul are observed, ironically has survived many fire hazards throughout history. In 1794, it was the victim of one of the fires that the whole city had warned for years. The roof, the chambers and the stairs were completely burned. After the fire, a roof in the form of a cone was concealed on the helmet, which was repaired by Sultan II. Selim, and balconies were added around it.

The Galata Tower, which once again suffered heavy damage with the second fire in 1831, was dressed with a new bullet cone. Everything that happened throughout history has reshaped and changed it.

Time must have been cruel to the tower, in 1875, when the storm that was caught this time blew the roof. In this repair, an octagonal fire surveillance floor and a terrace were built instead of a roof. Until 1964, it was used as a communication center for fire surveillance and naval forces.

There is also a legend in the popular history of the Galata Tower. It is a story of Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi who took off with his wings from the tower and succeeded in landing in Üskudar. According to the saying, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi, who took off from Galata Tower, was able to fly 6 km to Üskudar, to the opposite side of Istanbul Bosphorus.

Sultan Murad IV, who is pleased with these studies later exiled Hezarfen to Algeria under the influence of shaykh al-Islam. The story was also described in the film “İstanbul Beneath My Wings”.

The courtyard of the Galata Tower and the fortification walls descended to the shore were demolished; the moat around them was also filled in so the tower has taken its last form. Today it is the oldest tower in the world that accepts visitors. Entrance fee of the tower is 10 TL.

In recent times, the square under the tower has been restored, it has become a place where people want to visit again. Those who want to see the historical bell of the Galata Tower can visit the Archeology Museum.

Galata Tower, one of the most magnificent historical heritages of Istanbul, is damaged by fires and earthquakes and is subjected to the time-consuming effects of time, but every time master craftsmen repaired it. Tower, has come to the present day as a beautiful work which has been able to leave its mark for centuries in the silhouette of istanbul. Bereketzade, Galata Tower in Beyoglu, continues to testify with the whole story and beauty.

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