Galata Tower is located in the north of Golden Horn. During the Byzantine period, Venetian and Genoese trade colonies lived in this neighborhood outside the walls of Constantinople.
Galata Tower is located in the heart of Beyoglu, one of the most touristic districts of Istanbul today. For this reason, there are many activities to be done around the tower.
You can find information about the history of Galata Tower in this article. In addition, Galata Tower entrance fee and opening hours are also noted. We will also talk about the shopping streets and museums around the tower.
The History of Galata Tower
The history of Galata Tower goes back to the 14th century. During the Byzantine period, some Italian trade colonies were given commercial privileges. Among them were the Venetians and the Genoese.
During the Middle Ages, the Golden Horn was a dividing line between Orthodox and Catholics. Orthodox peoples lived in Constantinople to the south of the Golden Horn, and Catholics lived within the walls of Galata in the north.
In 1204, during the Fourth Crusade, the Latins invaded and plundered Constantinople. The Venetians fell out of favor with Byzantium for helping this plunder. Since the Genoese supported Byzantium, the Galata region was allocated to them.
The Genoese built the Galata Tower in 1348 to observe and protect the harbor on the Galata coast. The contribution of the Genoese to Istanbul was not limited to this. For example, Yoros Castle on the Black Sea coast was also built by them.
After the Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453, they wanted to continue trade. In this way, Venetians and Genoese preserved their privileges as in the Byzantine period.
Galata Tower was also used as a fire watchtower in the last period of the Ottoman Empire. Firefighters would see the fires in the city from here and go to help. The tower was converted into a museum during the republic period and became the best place to watch the panoramic view of Istanbul.
Things to Do near Galata Tower
Things to do near Galata Tower include visiting the shopping streets around the tower, dining at local restaurants and visiting museums. Also, Istiklal Street, the most popular pedestrian street in Istanbul, is very close to Galata Tower.
1. Buyuk Hendek Street
One of the most important synagogues of the city, Neve Shalom, is located in Buyuk Hendek Street. Jewish Museum of Turkey also within the synagogue complex. The museum tells you the story of Jewish people being forced to migrate by Spanish Monarchs in the 15th century. They were welcomed by the Ottomans and inhabited in Istanbul.
If you follow the Buyuk Hendek Street, you will reach Sishane Square. Next to this square is Mesrutiyet Street, where historical hotels such as Pera Palace are located. This street stretches parallel to Istiklal Street, the most famous walking path of the district. Some of the main tourist attractions such as Pera Museum, Istanbul Modern and Mikla Restaurant are located on the Mesrutiyet Street.
2. Serdar-i Ekrem Street
Serdar-i Ekrem Street stretches from Galata Tower to Cihangir direction and it houses shops that sell some specially designed products. You can find everyday objects with very creative designs in these shops. There are also boutique cafes with a very cozy atmosphere along the street.
If you walk towards the Cihangir neighborhood through this street, you can visit Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence. There are also very interesting antique shops on Cukurcuma Street in Cihangir.
3. Galip Dede Street
It is easy to reach Istiklal Street from Galata Tower. When you take the Tower on your behind and follow Galip Dede Street on the northern direction, you will arrive at Tunnel Square. This is the beginning of Istiklal Street.
Along the Galip Dede Street, there are souvenir shops, hostels, cafes, painting workshops and musical instrument shops. At the corner where Galip Dede Street meets Istiklal Street, there is Galata Mevlevi House Museum.
Mevlevi House Museum is the best place to watch the Whirling Derwish Show along with Hodjapasha Cultural Center. It is also a museum introducing Rumi who lived in Anatolia in the 13th century. Rumi was the religious leader who created the philosophy of Sufism.
Galata Tower Entrance Fee 2021
Galata Tower entrance fee is 100 Turkish Liras as of 2021. You can also get an audio guide by paying an extra 25 TL. Admission is free for children under 7 years. Istanbul Museum Pass is not valid at the entrance of Galata Tower.
Galata Tower Opening Hours 2021
Galata Tower opening hours are between 08:30 in the morning and 00:00 at night between April 1 and November 1, which is considered as the summer season. In the winter season, it opens at 10:00 in the morning and closes at 8:00 in the evening. The Museum is open 7 days a week. There are usually long queues in front of the tower. If you go before noon, you can get tickets faster.
Visiting times of museums in Istanbul may change due to events and renovations. Before going to the museum, I suggest you visit the official website of the museum and review the latest situation.
If you do not want to wait in the long lines check out the nearby Galata Anemon Hotel’s terrace. The top floor of the hotel is also a good choice to take great pictures of Galata Tower and the Golden Horn.
Galata Walking Tour
There is another way to visit the Galata Tower without waiting for a long time. GetYourGuide organizes a 75-minute Galata Walking Tour with a licensed tour guide. The tour sold at a very reasonable price included a fast track ticket and a guided visit to the Galata Tower.
The guide also provides information about the historical places surrounding the Galata neighborhood during the walk. Your guide will take you to Karakoy, one of the most popular squares in Istanbul, with the 19th century metro. If you are interested, you can buy this guided tour from this link.
How to Get to There?
Galata Tower is located in Beyoglu, one of the most central districts of Istanbul. You can walk to the tower from popular places such as Taksim Square, Istiklal Street and Karakoy.
You can use the tram to get to the tower from Sultanahmet. If you take the tram from Sultanahmet Tram Station to Kabatas direction, you can reach Karakoy in 15 minutes.
It is very easy to get to the tower from Karakoy Tram Station. You can reach the tower in 10 minutes from the ramp called Yuksek Kaldirim Caddesi.
As an alternative, you can take the transportation vehicle called “Tunel” after getting off the tram. This one-stop metro takes you to Tunnel Square, which is the beginning of Istiklal Avenue. From there it takes only 5 minutes to go downhill to the tower.
Written by Serhat Engul