Kuledibi, Beyoğlu - Istanbul - Turkey
GPS : 41°01'32.5"N 28°58'27.0"E / 41.025694, 28.974167
The galata tower was built in 1384, it was the highpoint in the city walls of the Genoese colony called Galata. During the first centuries of Ottoman era the Galata tower was occupied by a detachment of Janissaries, the elite corps of the Turkish Army. In the 16th century the tower was used to house prisoners of war, who were usualy consigned as galley slaves in the ottoman arsenal at Kasımpaşa on the golden horn. 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 Sultan Süleyman 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). During the reign of Sultan Selim II (1566-1574) the Galata Tower was used as an observation point by the renowed Turkish astronomer Takiuddin, who had his main observatory in Pera. In the following century, during the reign of Sultan Mustafa II (1695 - 1703) the Şeyhülislam Feyzulah Efendi tried to set up an astronomical observatory in the tower with with the aid of a Jesuit priest, but the effort was cut short when he was killed in 1703.
The Galata Tower was reconstructed on a number of occasions in the Ottoman period, most notably, after a great fire that destroyed much of Galata in 1794 (during the reign of Sultan Selim III) and by Sultan Mahmut II in 1832. the tower's conical cap was blown off during a storm in 1875, and it was not replaced in the subsequent restoration.
The tower was used as a fire-control station until 1964, when it was closed for restoratiom before being opened in 1967 as a tourist attraction. The conical cap was replaced in this restoration, giving the tower much the same appearance as it had in Genoese times, though retaining the changes in fenestration and other structual aspects done in the Ottoman period.
The nine-story tower is 66.90 meters tall (62.59 m without the ornament on top, 51.65 m at the observation deck), and was the city's tallest structure when it was built. The elevation at ground level is 35 meters above sea-level. The tower has an external diameter of 16.45 meters at the base, an 8.95 meters diameter inside, and walls that are 3.75 meters thick.
There is a restaurant and cafe on its upper floors which command a magnificent view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. Also located on the upper floors is a night club which hosts a Turkish show. There are two operating elevators that carry visitors from the lower level to the upper levels.
Albumen print of the Galata Tower, taken by J. Pascal Sébah between 1875-1895. Here the tower has the cupola that was built after the storm of 1875. The present-day conical top is a reconstruction of a previous one, and was built during restoration works between 1965 and 1967. The tower was built as Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. The Galata Tower was the tallest building in Istanbul at 219 1/2 feet (66.9 m) when it was built in 1348.
It was the apex of the fortifications surrounding the Genoese citadel of Galata. The current tower should not be confused with the old Tower of Galata, an original Byzantine tower named Megalos Pyrgos (English: Great Tower) which controlled the northern end of the massive sea chain that closed the entrance to the Golden Horn. That tower was on a different site and was largely destroyed in 1203, during the Fourth Crusade of 1202-1204.
The upper section of the tower with the conical cap was slightly modified in several restorations during the Ottoman period when it was used as an observation tower for spotting fires.
According to the Seyahatname of Ottoman historian and traveller Evliya Çelebi, in circa 1630-1632, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew as an early intercontinental aviator using artificial wings for gliding from this tower over the Bosphorus to the slopes of Üsküdar on the Anatolian side, nearly six kilometres away during the reign of Sultan Murad V. Evliyâ Çelebi also tells of Hezarfen's brother, Lagari Hasan Çelebi, performing the first flight with a rocket in a conical cage filled with gunpowder in 1633.
Starting from 1717 the Ottomans began to use the tower for spotting fires in the city. In 1794, during the reign of Sultan Selim III, the roof of the tower made of lead and wood, and the stairs were severely damaged by a fire. Another fire damaged the building in 1831, upon which a new restoration work took place.
In 1875, during a storm, the conic roof on the top of the building was destroyed.
The tower remained without this conic roof for the rest of the Ottoman period. Many years later, in 1965-1967, during the Turkish Republic, the original conical cap was restored. During this final restoration in the 1960s, the wooden interior of the tower was replaced by a concrete structure and it was commercialized and opened to the public.
Towards the 17th century, it was used by the Mehter Band, the janissary band of musicians. After 1717, it was used as a fire-observatory tower, butthe tower itself was unfortunately destroyed in a fire in 1794. After it was repaired, a cumba, a little room made of wood, was added to the tower during the reign of Sultan Selim III (1761-1808). After another fire in 1831, Sultan Mahmut added two more floors to the Tower and covered the top of the tower with a famous cloth in the shape of a conical hat.
An inscription written by Pertev Paşa concerning the tower’s repair works was affixedduring that time. After a strong storm in 1875, the framework of the roofwas damaged and was late repaired in 1960.
GALATA TOWER RESTAURANT
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.
There are 9 floors above the lofty entrance hall, and the uppermost floor is ringed by an observation deck, open daily from 9:00 to 19:00. The windows in the lover floors are few in number and merely slits, increasing appreciably in size on the sixth and seventh floors. The eight floor has huge round-arched windows while the ninth floor, which now houses a restaurant and nightclub, has smaller windows with give arches.
Appetizers, Grills, Salads, Desserts, Drinks
20:00 - 21:00 : Diner Service, 21:00 - 21:30 : Band begins to play, 21:30 - 21:45 : Folk Dances, 21:50 - 22:20 : Harem Show, 22:20 - 22:35 : Folk Dances, 22:35 - 22:50 : Belly dancer, 22:50 - 23:50 : Showmen Chanteure, 23:50 : Dance Music
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