Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi), or the Galata Tower Museum as it was known after it was used as a museum, is a tower located in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul (Turkey). It takes its name from the Galata district where it is located. Built as a watchtower within the Galata Walls, the tower serves as an exhibition venue and museum as of 2023, after being used for different purposes in different periods. It is one of the symbolic buildings of both Beyoğlu and Istanbul.

History

The Genoese, who were in alliance with the Byzantine Empire, established a colony called “Pera” in Galatalocated north of the Golden Horn, in 1267, and expanded the area of dominance of this colony over time with the permissions given by the Byzantine Empire. The tower, which was called the “Tower of the Holy Cross” (Turris Sancte Crucis) at that time because of the cross on its top, was built as a part of the fortifications in the region between 1335 and 1349, by increasing its area of dominance towards the hill in the northeast direction.

During the repairscarried out after the fire in 1794, the design of the tower was changed and the upper part was converted into a coffeehouse. After the fire in 1831, its design was changed once again. After its roof collapsed in a storm in 1875, two wooden masonry floors were built above the top floor and this section began to be used to observe and report fires in the city. With the restoration work between 1965 and 1967, the tower was arranged as a touristic structure with floors serving different purposes, while the roof of the tower was renewed similar to the design between 1832 and 1876.

A restoration was carried out on the exterior in 1999-2000. In 2013, BELTUR, affiliated with Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, took over the operation. During this period, there was a cafe and a restaurant on the top two floors of the tower. In the same year, it was included in the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. After the work carried out in 2020, the tower was reorganized as a museum and exhibition space. The cylindrical body of the Romanesque style masonry tower, whose height to the tip of the roof is 62.59 meters, is made of stone. It has 11 floors, including a basement, ground floor, and mezzanine floor. While there is an elevator between the ground floor and the sixth floor, there are stone stairs from the ground floor to the fourth floor, and steel construction stairs from the sixth to the eighth floor. The cone-shaped roof covering the top is made of reinforced concrete.

While the first floor is the museum store, the next three floors contain a simulation area with a screen showing an animation of Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi’s soaring from the Galata Tower, and works of art depicting different periods of its life.

Address: Bereketzade, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye.

Hours:

Saturday 8:30 AM–10 PM
Sunday 8:30 AM–10 PM
Monday 8:30 AM–10 PM
Tuesday 8:30 AM–10 PM
Wednesday 8:30 AM–10 PM
Thursday 8:30 AM–10 PM
Friday 8:30 AM–10 PM

Main information

Opened: 1349
Height: 63 m
Architect: Köksal Anadol
Function: Tower
Phone: +90 212 249 03 44
Owner: Directorate General of Foundations
Architectural: 62.59 m (205 ft)
Coordinates: 41°1′32.36″N 28°58′26.96″E / 41.0256556°N 28.9741556°E
Diameter: Interior: 8.95 m (29.4 ft); Exterior: 16.45 m (54.0 ft)
Material: Stone
Floor count: 11 (including the basement, the ground floor and the mezzanine)
Former names: Turris Sancte Crucis (Holy Cross Tower)

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