It is estimated that the Galata Tower, once referred to as the Jesus tower, was built at the beginning of the 500 AD, although the exact date of its construction is not known. The oldest and most important work of the historical Galata region; Romans, Venetians, Genoese and Ottomans used for different purposes.
Galata Tower (Jesus Tower)
Galata Tower, according to estimates first made by the Romans in 507 and in the year 1348 Genoese gave its last shape. The altitude is about 70 meters and the diameter is about 10 meters. It is thought that the weight is 10 thousand tons.
The Genoese, who were estimated to have been built by Anastasius, placed a large Catholic cross on the top of the tower. Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror took the cross off the tower.
After the conquest of Istanbul, Galata Tower was used for different purposes during the Ottoman Empire period. In 1509, Istanbulites saw serious damages in the earthquake they called “Little Resurrection”. It was restored by his great architect Hayrettin. During the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent was turned into a prison. The prisoners working at Kasımpaşa shipyard were kept here for a while. Towards the end of the 1500s an observatory was established here by Takıüddin Efendi. But Sultan Sultan 3. Murat later closed it by saying, “There is no worrying about the stars” because of the sayings of people living around “looking under the skirts of the angels”.
In the first quarter of the 18th century, Galata Tower began to be used as a watch tower against the endless fires of Istanbul. Unluckily burned itself in the end of the same century. Half a century later, the Galata Tower was burned again and there were supplementation during Selim III and II. We also know that its roof flew over in a storm in in 1875. Galata Tower, which has undergone a restoration in the Republican period, serves as a restaurant and a viewing terrace today.
Galata Tower Legends
There are 2 stories that stand out among Galata Tower legends: Legends related to Marriage and Maiden’s Tower.
The Legacy of the Oldest Galata Tower
Perhaps the most interesting legend among Galata Tower legends is the oldest one. According to this legend, the Romans believe that if a man and a woman climb together for the first time to the Galata Tower, they will definitely get married … But if one of the couples had already been in the tower (not by anyone else or alone), this amulet was ruined.
Galata Tower’s Legendary Love
This myth is a fairytale story. Accordingly, Galata Tower and Maiden Tower are in love with each other. But it is also impossible to meet because of the wild waves of Bosphorus. Day after day their passion is increasing. Then one day, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi climbed the tower, to fly from Europe to the Anatolian side.He took the love letters which the tower written for centuries and left them to the Maiden Tower when approaching the shore of Salacak. The letters blown by the wind reach the Maiden’s Tower with the help of the waves. The Maiden Tower, who understands that love is not unrequited, becomes more beautiful after letters. Galata Tower in this respect also understands that the love is not one-sided. These emotions, which the couple feels against each other, allow them to challenge each other for centuries …
The Story of Galata Walls
Finally, I want to talk about the Galata fortifications, which have little information about them and are no longer in place. 3 of these walls, which are called Hristos Walls in their own time, are on the land side and 1 on the sea side. Entrances and exits to the neighborhood were made from 12 different doors. The fact that 9 of these are in the direction of the sea supports Galata as a port city.
It is estimated that the walls of Galata, which are thought to be about 14 kilometers from the beginning, have a height of 10m – 12m. It is known that the last remains were destroyed in 1864.
Galata Tower Visiting Information
Address: Bereketzade Mah., Galata Tower, 34200 Beyoğlu Istanbul
Transportation: You can reach here on foot from İstiklal Caddesi. From the street before the tunnel you can turn left and walk down.
Visiting Day and Hour: It is open every day from 09:00 to 19:00.
Entry Fees: 13 Turkish Lira
Notes: Entrance fees and visit times may vary periodically. Please check the Galata Tower website for updated information.