Galata Tower

Bereketzade, Galata Kulesi, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

The medieval round Galata Tower built in 1348 has played many roles for Istanbul over the years: A watchtower for Bosphorus trade, an observation deck for spotting fires, the setting of a legendary flight across the Bosphorus, and now a tourist attraction offering 360 degree views of Istanbul. Hands down, it’s the best way to see how the city spreads across its European and Asian sides. Go for sunset, but arrive early to beat the queue.

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Istanbul: Galata Tower

Usually, if there is a possibility of a panoramic view, I’m climbing up, paying the fee, and getting that shot. Galata Tower did not fail to provide that view I so desire whenever I travel. From the top, the traffic is just a hum, the people like ants, and the distant neighborhoods sparkly. The ferries churn by on the Bosphorus on their way back and forth from Asia, the Turkish flag blowing in the wind. It’s magical at the top of Galata Tower, and I lingered inside the rooftop café, watching the day turn to night. A restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily. Reservations are suggested since the dining room is on the small side.

One tower, two mosques and a love story

On the 21 March, I climbed the Galata Tower to see if a 470 year old Istanbul love story was true. The 16th Century story involves Ottoman Architect, Mimar Sinan and Mihrimah Sultan – the daughter of the famous, Sultan Suleiman and Hurrem Sultana. When Mihrimah was 17 two men wished to marry her: Sinan and a governor, Rustem Pasa. The Sultan chose Rustem Pasha, but Sinan’s love for Miramah did not die on her wedding day in 1539 – his love was built into two of Istanbul’s finest mosques. Sinan was commissioned to design the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque near the Bosphorus in Uskadar in 1548. The design mimics the silhouette of a woman in a skirt. Later, after Rustem Pasa died, Sinan designed a new mosque without palace approval. He built the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque on the highest hill of Istanbul in Edirnekapi (1565). ‘Mihrimah’ means the ‘sun and moon’ and so Sinan designed the Uskadar mosque with less windows, symbolizing the moon. The Edirnekapi mosque has many windows signifying the sun. The Edirnekapi mosque also has one minaret to symbolize Sinan’s loneliness and longing for one woman. The love story suggests that on 21 March (Spring Equinox and Mihrimah’s birthday), the sun will set over the single minaret in Edirnekapi and the moon will rise over the mosque in Uskadar. Is this story real or just an urban legend? You can see both mosques from the Galata Tower. For hopeless romantics, the story is a great excuse to climb the medieval tower during a springtime sunset.

Fresh juice for a dollar

Summer can be hot in Istanbul. For just a dollar, you can get a fresh squeeze orange juice from a juice shop. However, prices vary depending on the fruits that you choose. The juice shop is a common sight in Istanbul.

Enjoy a remarkable view from Galata Tower

The Galata Tower looks even more beautiful at night. Get up to the Observation Deck for one of the best views of Istanbul.

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