Galata Tower & Galata Bridge & Galata District
After istanbul was conquered by Mehmet II, the Genoese who stayed neutral during the siege, kept their commercial privileges, but the tower controlled by Ottomans. In Ottoman period the tower for a short while used as prison and observatory in XVI century. According to Evliya Celebi, Hezarfan Ahmet Celebi by using artificial wings flew from Galata tower over the Bosphorus to Uskudar. After 1717 it was used as fire watchtower.
Many times the tower fired and restored. During last restoration in 1960s the present conical top was built and the wooden interior of the tower was replaced by a concrete structure. The elevator only goes to the 7th floor, and the last two floors of the tower must be climbed by stairs. On the last floor there is a restaurant and cafeteria which commands a magnificent view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. The balcony encircle the tower permit a 360 degree panoramic view of the Bosphorus and Golden Horn and a unique spot for watching the famous sunset on the Golden Horn. Today the tower is one of the most striking landmarks of Istanbul.
Galata Bridge – Galata Koprusu
The Galata Bridge is a bridge that spans the Golden Horn from Eminonu to Karakoy district. The first recorded bridge over the Golden Horn was built during Justinian the Great period in the 6th century somewhere very close to the Theodosian land walls.
In Beyazit II period by Leonardo da Vinci a huge bridge was designed but that project was not approved by the Sultan. if it had been constructed, it would have become the longest bridge in the world of that time. Until 19th century there is no other bridge project. In the early 19th century Mahmut II had a bridge built a bit further up the waterway, between Azapkapi and Unkapani.
The first bridge at the mouth of the waterway was constructed the place where Galata Bridge is located today in 1845 by mother of Sultan Abdulmecit. To distinguish this bridge from the old bridge(Cisr-i Atik), it was called Cisr-i Cedid, new bridge. The present bridge is the fifth bridge built in the same place in 1992 to replace an iron structure dating from 1909 to 1912. The remains of the old bridge was moved further up the Golden Horn.
The view from the bridge is spectacularly beautiful at sunset.
Galata District – Galata
Galata is located at the northern side of the Golden Horn on the European side. The area has been inhabited before Byzantine period. Galata also known as Pera, means “across” in Greek during middle ages. The Greeks called the area “Peran en Sykais”, means “the fig field” because of the fig fields on the other side of Golden Horn. It was a suburb of Byzantium as early as the 5th century. Emperor Theodosios II constructed a castle here during his reigning period on the area. It was that period the area was called Galata. There are several ideas about the origin of the word Galata. According to the Italians: The word comes from Calata means “downward slope” as the neighbourhood is sloped and goes downwards to the sea from a hilltop. According to the Greeks : The word comes both from Galaktos “meaning milk”, as the area was used by shepherds in the early medieval period” or from the word Galat “means Celtic in Greek” as the Celtic tribe of Galatians. When Italian occupied Constantinople in 1204, Venetians were prominent in the area. After Byzantine reconquered the city from Latins in 1261, because of the support of Genoesian to Byzantines, Galata was given to the Genoesian In 1273. Between 1273 and 1453 became a colony of Genoa Republic. During the siege of Constantinople in 1453, Genoese sided with the Byzantines and defended the city together. After the city was conquered by Mehmet II, he allowed the Genoese leave the area. Later periods Genoese return back to the city but Galata was no longer run by a Genoese. The area was settled by the Turks in time but the European presence in the area did not end. Following the collapsing of Ottoman Empire the area went into gradual decline. Most of the foreign communities left the the area to live elsewhere in the city, or elsewhere in the world. Until the 1940s and 1950s, the area continued to enjoy a reputation for its cosmopolitan and sophisticated atmosphere. By the 1980s the area had become economically and socially degenerated.