Istanbul, Galata Tower

Istanbul’s historic Galata Tower reopens to tourists

The historic building, built in the 14th century by the Genoese colony of Constantinople, has been reopened as a museum.

The historic Galata Tower in Istanbul, one of the symbols of the city and an icon for tourism, has been reopened to tourists after completing the restoration works on the building, which have lasted for three months.

During a ceremony held on Tuesday night in which several authorities participated, including Turkey’s Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the iconic 672-year-old tower was reopened to the public, whose management – until now in the hands of the Istanbul Metropolitan City Council – was taken over by the ministry in May, and will now go to the General Directorate of Foundations.

As part of the restoration project, the tower will have a new use as a museum, with the restaurant and cafe that previously housed the building now being closed; in addition, access to the upper part – from which magnificent views of the historic center of Istanbul can be enjoyed – will be done by elevator, while the descent will be by stairs so that visitors can visit all the levels of the tower.

The restoration work has not been carried out without controversy, especially since a video broadcast in mid-August recorded through a mobile phone showed workers demolishing part of a supposedly original interior wall of the tower, which caused a harsh reaction from the mayor of Istanbul and from many users on social media.

Built in the 14th century by the Genoese colony of Constantinople as part of the defences of the historic Pera neighbourhood (today’s Beyoğlu), located on the other side of the Golden Horn, the Galata Tower is visited every year by thousands of tourists. Its restoration is included in a large project that seeks to make it a major tourist attraction for passengers arriving at the new Galataport, a mega project to build a large terminal for cruise ships.