The Galata Tower (Turkish: Galata Kulesi), or with the current official name Galata Kulesi Museum (Turkish: Galata Kulesi Müzesi), is a tower in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, Turkey. It is named after the quarter in which it is located, Galata. Built as a watchtower at the highest point of the Walls of Galata, the tower is now an exhibition space and museum, and one of the symbols of Beyoğlu and Istanbul.
|Former names||Turris Sancte Crucis (Holy Cross Tower)|
|Type||Watchtower (former) · observation tower (former) · fire tower (former) · touristic building · museum · exhibition place|
|Renovated||1453 · 1510 · 1794 · 1832 · 1875 · 1965-1967 · 1999-2000 · 2020|
|Owner||Directorate General of Foundations|
|Architectural||62.59 m (205 ft)|
|Top floor||40.04 m (131 ft)|
|Diameter||Interior: 8.95 m (29.4 ft)|
Exterior: 16.45 m (54.0 ft)
|Floor count||11 (including the basement, the ground floor and the mezzanine)|
|Grounds||208 m2 (2,240 sq ft)|
During the Byzantine period the Emperor Justinian had a tower erected in what was to become Galata. This tower was destroyed during the Fourth Crusade.
The famous Galata Tower of today was first built in 1348 in Romanesque style as the Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. At the time the Galata Tower, at 219.5 ft (66.9 m), was the tallest building in Constantinople.
After the Genoese colony was dismantled and the walls pulled down in 1453, the tower was used as a prison in the 16th century. It was from its roof that, in 1638, Hezarfen Ahmed Çelebi strapped on wings and made the first intercontinental flight, landing in the Doğancılar Meydanı in Üsküdar on the Asian side of the city, a story of doubtful authenticity recounted by the Ottoman travel writer, Evliya Çelebi.
From 1717, the Ottomans used the tower to look out for fires (on the Old Istanbul side of the city the Beyazıt Tower served the same function). In 1794, during the reign of Sultan Selim III, the roof of the tower was made of lead and wood, and the stairs were severely damaged by a fire. Another fire damaged the building in 1831, after which further restoration work took place.
In 1875, the tower's conical roof was destroyed during a storm. It remained without this iconic roof for the rest of the Ottoman period. Many years later, during restoration work between 1965 and 1967, the conical roof was reconstructed. At the same time the tower's wooden interior was replaced with a concrete structure and it was opened to the public.
In 2020 the Tower was controversially restored then opened as a museum.  It is mainly popular for the 360-degree views of Istanbul visible from its observation deck.
The nine-story tower is (62.59 m (205.3 ft) excluding the ornament on the top, 51.65 m (169.5 ft) at the observation deck), and was the city's tallest structure when it was built. The elevation at ground level is 61 m (200 ft) above sea-level. The tower has an external diameter of 16.45 m (54.0 ft) at the base, an inside diameter of 8.95 m (29.4 ft), and walls that are 3.75 m (12.3 ft) thick.
Galata Tower after Cristoforo Buondelmonti, 1420s or 1430s
Galata Tower after Cristoforo Buondelmonti, late 1480s
Galata Tower and Pera by Matrakçı Nasuh, 1537
Galata Tower and Pera by Jérôme Maurand, 1544
Galata Tower by Paul Lucas, 1720
Galata Tower by Antoine Ignace Melling, 1819
Galata Tower by Augustin François Lemaître, 1840
Galata Tower by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1846
Albumen print of the Galata Tower by Pascal Sébah, between 1875 and 1886
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- "Galata Kulesi hikayesi" (in Turkish). Hürriyet. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
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- Katie Hallam (2009). The Traveler's Atlas: Europe. London: Barron's Educational Series.(2009), p. 118-119.
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- Arifoğlu, Nergiz (19 March 2018). "Galata Kulesi'nin aydınlatma tasarımı süreçleri" (in Turkish). Kaynak Elektrik. Archived from the original on 24 March 2018.
- The Apes Of Galata - NFT Projesi (23 Nisan 2022)