Galata Tower is located in Beyoğlu district of Istanbul. It takes its name from the district where it is located, Galata. The tower was built as the watchtower of Galata Walls. Today, it is used as a viewing terrace and museum for touristic purposes. It is one of the symbol structures of Beyoğlu and Istanbul.
In 1267, a colony called "Pera" was established in Galata, located north of the Golden Horn, by the Genoese, who were in alliance with the Byzantine Empire. While the area of domination of this colony expanded in time with the permissions granted by Byzantium, the Genoese increased this area of dominance towards the hill in the northeast direction and built some fortifications in the region between 1335 and 1349. Although there have been some constructions in the existing tower area since the 6th century AD, the construction of the Galata Tower, as we know it today, dates back to the middle of the 14th century. After the conquest of Istanbul by the Ottoman Empire on May 29, 1453, the Genoese handed over the colony to the Ottoman without any conflict. Damaged in the earthquake in 1509, the tower was repaired in 1510. During the repair work carried out after the fire in 1794, while the design of the tower was changed the upper floor was transformed into a coffee house. After the fire in 1831, its design was changed once again. After toppling of its roof in a storm in 1875, two wooden rooms were built on the top masonry floor and were used by the city's fire department. With the restoration work between 1965 and 1967, while the floors of the tower were arranged as a touristic structure to serve different purposes the roof of the tower was renewed similar to the design between 1832-1876. The tower was included in UNESCO World Heritage tentative list in Turkey by UNESCO in 2013. Galata Tower was finally turned into a museum with the work carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2020 and opened to visitors on October 6, 2020, the anniversary of the Independence of Istanbul.
The height of the tower up to the tip of the roof is 62.59 m. Its cylindrical body is made of stone and its roof is reinforced concrete. There are 11 floors in total including basement, ground floor and mezzanine. There is an elevator between the ground floor and the sixth floor, stone stairs from the ground floor to the fourth floor, and a steel construction staircase from the sixth to the eighth floor.
The entrance door on the south axis, which is higher than the floor of the tower, is reached by stairs with marble steps on both sides. There is an inscription on the entrance door with an empire style, made of marble, on the repair and restoration works carried out in 1831-1832, on which a poem of Poet Pertev is engraved.
There is an inscription hanged in 1953, which coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Conquest of Istanbul, on the ground floor of the outer part of the south facing facade of the tower.
On the ground floor, there are ticket control and security point and the entrance of the two-cabin elevator system reaching up to the sixth floor. Here, an animation is projected on the wall surface where the elevator doors are located, using the video wall technique.
Inside the elevator cabins, the appearance of 16th century Istanbul is shown in form of an animation with a specially designed system with 8 screens each. In this animation, the view that a person would see when he climbed up the Galata Tower in a glass cabin elevator in the 16th century is given with the feeling of rising upwards.
In Galata Tower, the elevator goes up to the 6th floor. The 8th floor, which is the top floor of the tower, is reached by stairs. The panoramic view balcony on the 8th floor is the most interesting part of the tower.
On the 7th floor of the tower, there is a model of Istanbul with a scale of 1/2500 and supported by electronic systems which includes models of important historical buildings. There are six tablets integrated into this model. There are 5 observation binoculars, as well, on the 7th floor besides this model.
On the 6th floor of the building, there is a model of a sailing cargo boat engaged in coastal transport
from the 9th century AD. Again, on the 6th floor, there is a video game named “Bul Istanbul” for little visitors.
The 5th floor is a floor arranged as a museum where artefacts from the Neolithic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods are exhibited with five showcases.
The 4th floor of Galata Tower is also organized as a museum. The chain of the estuary, which has been preserved as a symbol of the Ottoman Empire's victory and urban identity, is one of the important artifacts exhibited on this floor.
The passages from the 4th floor of the tower to the lower floors are provided by tunnel stairs built into the body walls of the building.
The 3rd floor has been used as the temporary exhibition hall of the Galata Tower Museum.
The second floor of the building is arranged as a simulation area with a giant screen where Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi's flight from Galata Tower to Üsküdar is shown as an animation. In addition, on this floor, there are artifacts and information belonging to the period when the tower was used as an observatory.
The 1st floor of the Galata Tower is organized as a museum store, where the gifts and souvenirs related to the tower and Istanbul are sold in addition to the replicas of some of the artefacts in the exhibition.
After this floor, the entrance is reached by passing through the mezzanine on the ground floor, and visitors are allowed to exit from the separated part of the stairs in front of the door.