Combine a trip up the tower with a walk down nearby Istiklal Street.
Galata Tower dominates the skyline of Istanbul. Nine stories high, it looms 67 metres above the city: the viewing platform provides incredible 360 degree views of Istanbul, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.
The tower was first constructed as a defensive outpost in 1348; its Romanesque tower was the tallest in the city, and was built to replace the old Galata Tower, a nearby Byzantine structure largely destroyed in the 1204 Sack of Constantinople.
Galata’s conical cap was modified during the Ottoman period; at this time it was used as a lookout point for spotting fires in the city. In the 17th century, popular tales of the Ottoman aviator Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi tell that the tower was even host to his early attempts at flight.
The roof was destroyed in an 1875 storm before being reconstructed in the 1960s. Thankfully, two lifts were also installed during this last renovation. The tower is well worth a visit for the views alone, which have long been appreciated; panoramic photographs from the observation deck exist from as early as 1880. Today you can enjoy the view from the tower’s restaurant and café, and there is even a nightclub on the upper floors which features belly-dancing shows.
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