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.
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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 2024
Galata Tower entrance fee is 650 Turkish Liras as of 2024. Museum Pass Istanbul is valid in this museum. The information on the ticket price was last updated on November 21, 2023.
It should also be noted that although the tower is open to touristic visits, the view terrace on the top floor is closed to visitors due to restoration as of November 1, 2023. It is not yet clear when the top floor of the tower will be opened.
Skip The Line Galata Tower Tickets
The 7-month period from April to November is Istanbul’s high tourism season. During this time, there are long ticket lines in front of museums. For this reason, I recommend you to buy a skip-the-line Galata Tower tickets in advance.
Those who have Galata Tower guided tour tickets meet with their guides at the square and enter with the group. By joining this guided group tour, you can learn not only about the tower but also other structures in the area surrounding it.
For fast track entry to Galata Tower, you can buy online tickets from this link. These tickets are under the guarantee of GetYourGuide, an international company, and they can be canceled and refunded up to 24 hours before the activity.
Galata Tower Opening Hours 2024
Galata Tower opening hours are between 08:30 in the morning and 23:00 in the evening. Please note that the ticket office closes at 22:00. This museum is open every day of the week. Information on visiting hours was last updated on November 21, 2023.
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.
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