Galata Tower Sweeping Views of Istanbul

The iconic Galata Tower has dominated the skyline in northern Istanbul since antiquity. It is still easily spotted from the southern shores of the Golden Horn waterway.

Additionally, the observation deck of the Galata Tower provides striking panoramic views of the city landscape. All of the iconic relics of Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire can be spotted from the observation deck. This includes the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Suleymaniye Mosque.

Also, the intersection of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn adds to the striking landscape which is revealed at the top.

Galata Tower seen from Galata Bridge
The conical top of the Galata Tower dominates the skyline on the northern side of Istanbul. Additionally, the iconic landmark is easily spotted from the Galata Bridge and the southern shores of the Golden Horn waterway. It’s namesake bridge is also a popular fishing spot for the locals.

Visiting The Galata Tower

The ornament on top notwithstanding, the tower is 67 meters tall. Additionally, there is an observation deck located on the tower which is just over 51 meters above the ground. It is an easy walk from Taksim Square and is located in the Galata/Karakoy quarter of Istanbul.

Fortunately, the observation deck can be reached by taking the elevator found at the entrance. Although there is also a stairway if you are looking for some exercise. However, the Galata Tower is nine stories tall, therefore it is advisable to engage the elevator going up and enjoy the stairs on the way down.

Galata Tower
The tower is 67 meters tall not including the ornament on top. There is a cafe/restaurant located underneath the Galata observation deck. Just above the windows you can see the railing of the observation deck.
Galata Tower Stairway
My friend as seen descending the hidden stairway.

Brief History of Galata Tower

Ironically, this iconic “Romanesque” landmark in Istanbul was not built by the Byzantines or the Ottomans. The structure as it is seen today was built in 1348 by the Genoese. It was built to replace “Tower of Galata” which was located inside the citadel of Galata at a nearby location.

The primary function of the tower was to anchor a chain that stretched across the entrance of the Golden Horn waterway and attached to the Tower of Eugenius on the southern side. This protective chain was imperative to keep enemy ships away from locations of the city that were vulnerable to attack.

Unfortunately, in 1208 the city walls were breached during the Fourth Crusade and the original Tower of Galata was destroyed. As a result, the invaders were able to enter the protected waterway and sack the city of Constantinople. A portion of the ancient chain still survives and it can be viewed at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

Istanbul Skyline Views

Topkapi Palace seen from Galata Tower
Photo of the Topkapi Palace in the distant background as seen from the Galata observation deck. The Istanbul Archaeological museum is located adjacent to the palace.
Suleymaniye Mosque Istanbul
The iconic Suleymaniye Mosque was constructed in the 16th century by the Ottomans. Additionally, it is second largest mosque in Istanbul. This photo was also taken from the Galata observation deck. The Golden Horn waterway is seen in the foreground.
Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque from Galata Tower
In the far background, the Hagia Sophia is on the left and the Blue Mosque is seen on the right. The Blue Mosque is distinguishable from all other mosques in Istanbul due to it’s 6 minarets. Once again, the waterway in the foreground is the Golden Horn and the Galata Bridge can be seen in the bottom right corner.
Asiatic Istanbul from Galata Tower
The “Asiatic” side of Istanbul is in the far background as seen from the Galata observation deck. In the right foreground of the photo you can observe the entrance to the Golden Horn from the Bosphorus.

Recommended Travel Posts:

See Roman Ruins at Ancient Ephesus
Visit Basilica Cistern in Istanbul
The Towers of San Marino