Friday, May 30, 2014

Istanbul 2014 - Galata Tower

Date of visit: 7th April 2014

A happy lady with her wish list visit place "Galata Tower"

The Galata Tower (in Turkish, Galata Kulesi) was once called by the Genoese (built by them in 1348) as Christea Turris in Latin, the Tower of Christ by the Genoese. It is a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karakoy quarter of Istanbul, just to the north of the Golden Horn's junction with the Bosphorus. Galata Tower is one of the city's most striking landmarks, it is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and offers a panoramic vista of Istanbul's historic peninsula and its environs.

The receiption/lift lobby area to take us staright up to the viewing deck

The 9 story tower is 66.90 meters tall (up to the tip of the ornament), 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. To mark our visit that day, we decided to have coffee and rice puddings at the cafe. It was a blessed day as we were able to use the facilities up offered up there to offer prayer and freshened up of the tower’s cleanest toilets.

A must try rice pudding

The tower was built n 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. It was built to replace the old Tower of Galata, an original Byzantine tower named Megalos Pyrgos @ 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 4th Crusade of 1202–1204.

Meal overlooking Istanbul city at Galata restaurant deck is a must do list

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. 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.

During the 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. From the top of the tower, the first French panorama painter Pierre Prevost drew in 1818 his "Panorama de Constantinople" which was later exhibited in Paris in 1825.

Decent place for us to pray at the washroom area
I like to conclude a few thing, that you must not rushed once you have arrived in Galata Tower. Do not rush by going down, rather after taking photos. Rather, spend more time appreciating what you have paid for (an entrance ticket up) by enjoying at least a cup of coffee and feel fortunate that the coffee that you had that day was on top of 1 of the oldest tower in the world.

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