Everything you need to know about Galata Tower Istanbul

Having served mighty empires from the Byzantines to the Ottomans as a watchtower and a prison, the Galata Tower is now a museum and an observation deck. Climb the tower to enjoy...

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Bereketzade, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye


2 hours


Closed today




30-60 mins (Peak), 0-30 mins (Off Peak)

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Did you know?

The Galata Tower's origin story remains rather ambiguous. A wooden tower called Megalos Pyrgos was built by the Byzantines around 527 AD, which was eventually destroyed. The current tower was built in 1348 by the Genoese as part of larger fortifications. The walls of Galata, as the fortifications have come to be known are mostly lost now, while the tower stands.

Over the centuries, Galata Tower served as a defense watchtower, fire detection tower, prison, meteorological observatory, and now an observatory deck and museum. The tower has survived turbulent times and the changing empires have renovated and renamed it multiple times.

Galata Tower was the venue for a remarkable feat of aviation. In 1632, Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi attached wooden wings to his arms and flew from the tower to the Doğancılar Square in Üsküdar. An impressed Sultan Murad Khan rewarded him with a bag of gold before exiling him to Algeria, as such a man ‘could do anything’.

Know more about your Galata Tower tickets

Know more about your Galata Tower tickets

Inclusions: An express elevator ride to the top and an audio guide
Suitable for: Visitors in wheelchairs, elderly tourists, and toddlers
Note: There is little to no signal inside the Galata Tower. We recommend downloading the audio guide app on your mobile before visiting. 

  • Book these Galata Tower entry tickets to get a bird’s eye view of the city and spot iconic landmarks like the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Dolmabahce Palace from the top. 
  • Get on the express elevator and reach the top of the tower within a few minutes.

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Galata Tower history 

The Galata Tower is a medieval aged tower in the Galata Quarter of Istanbul, Turkey. It is a marvelous amalgamation of east Roman, Genoese, and Ottoman characteristics. The varied influences of these empires can be seen in their myriad architecture. Among the many towers in Istanbul, the Galata is undoubtedly the oldest and most iconic one. The tower is 219 ft high, cone-capped, and cylindrical; with a total of nine stories, which made it the city’s tallest structure when it was built. 

The birth of Galata Tower Istanbul is shrouded in mystery as there are 2 varied theories. By the first theory, the Byzantium Emperor Justinian built the tower as a lighthouse in 527 A.D. In 1348, the Genoese Colony arrived and rebuilt the monument inside the Galata city walls for protection from the invaders. The Galata Tower provided excellent surveillance from inside the walls of the city and had crucial military importance. It was also later used as a fire detection tower during the Ottoman Empire before it was converted into a prison during the rule of Sultan Suleiman ‘The Magnificent’.

A  famous story of the Galata Tower revolves around the legendary Ottoman aviator Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi. According to stories Hezârfen Çelebi attached wooden wings to his arms and flew from the top of the tower to Doğancılar Square in Üsküdar with wings attached to his arms. This extraordinary feat made the then Sultan Murad Khan very suspicious of the man which resulted in him being sent to exile in Algeria. The story of Hezârfen Çelebi's extraordinary feat has been passed down through generations in Istanbul and is now a popular backstory to the Galata Tower.

Frequently asked questions about the Galata Tower

Why was the Galata Tower Istanbul built?

It was built as a lighthouse or a watchtower, mainly for the defense of the city.

Why is the Galata Tower important?

Erected in the 14th century, Galata Tower is an important part of the city’s history as it played a prime part of the defense wall surrounding the district.

What does Galata mean?

The word Galata is a variant of the Italian word calata, which refers to a section of the docks of the ports intended for the mooring of merchant ships.

Who built the Galata Tower?

The birth of the Galata Tower is shrouded in mystery but it is debated that either the Romans or the Genoese Colony built the Tower.

Is the restoration of Galata Tower complete?

The Galata Tower was recently renovated by the government and has reopened to the public in 2021 after the restoration process was completed.

How many stairs does Galata Tower Istanbul have?

The Galata Tower has 146 stairs inside the tower.

Is there an elevator in Galata Tower?

Yes, there is an elevator in Galata Tower that takes you up to the topmost floor of the building.

Is the restaurant still open at Galata Tower?

No, the restaurant/cafe was closed down after the recent restoration done by the government.