It was called the Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) by the Genoese and the Megalos Pyrgos (The Great Tower) by the Byzantines. It took its present shape during the Genoese period. The Tower was heavily damaged during an earthquake in 1509, and it was renewed by the architect, Hayrettin, who was very famous during that period. During the reign of Süleiman the Magnificent (1520-66), it was used as a jail for prisoners who were sentenced to work at the Kasımpaşa Naval Dockyard. The head astrologer, Takıyeddin Efendi, established an observatory on the top of the tower at the end of the 16th century and functioned as an observatory for a particular period of time. Later, it was closed and again turned into a prison by Sultan Murat III (1546-1595).
In 1638, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew as an early aviator using artificial wings from this tower across the Bosphorus to the slopes of Üsküdar on the Anatolian side.
Today, the Galata Tower operates solely as a touristic attraction by a private company. The elevator only goes to the 7th floor, and the last two floors of the tower must be climbed by stairs.
After passing though the restaurant on the top floor, there is a balcony that encircles the tower. The restaurant’s view showcases a scene of Istanbul and the Bosphorus.
Open: Galata Tower can be visited everday between 07:00 am. and 19:00, after 20:00 the restaurant up to teras is available for dinner.