While the Galata Tower and the Maiden’s Tower are the most famous in Istanbul, they’re not the only ones with great views of the city. In this bustling city, you’ll also find the Beyazit tower, clock towers, TV towers, and radio towers dominating the skyline.
In fact, you’ll even find historical columns and obelisks that also tower over everything nearby. While you won’t be able to access them, you’ll still see minaret towers from the famous mosques of Istanbul everywhere you look..
And lastly once you leave the historical building behind, you’ll see modern skyscrapers whose towering views of the city make them some of the best places to live in Istanbul.
Famous Towers of Istanbul
Now that you know you just simply have to look up to find a tower in Istanbul, let’s start with the most notable ones.
1. Galata Tower
The Galata Tower was built in 1348 at the time of the march of the Genoese in Constantinople. Its original name is Christea Turris, which translates to English as the Tower of Christ. Standing at 219.5 feet tall, the Galata tower provided the highest view of all towers within Istanbul during its time.
Before the Galata Tower was built, there was a previous tower it replaced which stands near to where it is right now, a Byzantine tower called Megalos Pyrgos. Megalos Pyrgos served as a strategic spot for spotting invaders enter from the Golden Horn. Strife during the fourth crusade devastated it, and the Galata Tower was built to replace it.
The Ottomans found the Galata Tower in poor condition after invading Constantinople. As a result, several restoration works had to be done, especially on its dome. Therefore, the original dome of the Galata is a lot different from what it is today.
The Galata Tower played an important part in Istanbul’s history, as it served as a watchtower for spotting fires from its great height. Furthermore, historical accounts even state that the first artificial fight took place from this very tower.
Today, the Galata Tower is a tourist attraction in Istanbul where 15,000 tourists take panoramic pictures of the entire city each and every week. It also provides a wonderful view of the Bosporus waters at Golden Horn and is a great place for a romantic dinner.
2. Maiden’s Tower
On the southern tip of the Bosporus is a small islet where a sententious tower stands – the Maiden’s tower. It’s famous because it’s where tourists go for watching ships and boats moving to and fro on the surrounding water.
The origin of Maiden’s tower is unclear. Historians speculate that it was built to act as a customs station for ships arriving from the Black sea. The time of building might be after Alcibiades’, the person who commanded the building of the tower, a major victory during the Cyzicus Naval battle in 410 B.C.
Originally, the Maiden’s tower connects to another tower built on the eastern portion of Sirkeci Peninsula, where you’ll see lots of hotels and lively districts at present. The Maiden’s Tower is also linked to another tower in Anatolia’s shore through a rampart. However, you can’t see this today because it’s submerged underwater.
The tower also served as a watchtower at the time of Sultan Mehmed the conqueror. Later on, it was used as a lighthouse after the Great Istanbul Earthquake of 1509. In the 19th century, Sultan Mahmud II used the Maiden’s Tower as an infirmary. Most recently, however, you might have seen its reign in Hollywood, as a film set in the James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough.
From the time it was built, Maiden’s tower got almost completely destroyed 2 times and was reconstructed more than 3 times. Today, Maiden’s tower serves as a stop for those availing the cruises headed to the southern tip of Istanbul.
While the Galata Tower and the Maiden’s Tower are the most famous in Istanbul, they’re not the only ones with great views of the city. In this bustling city, you’ll also find clock towers, TV towers, and radio towers dominating the skyline.
In fact, you’ll even find historical columns and obelisks that also tower over everything nearby. Lastly, while you won’t be able to access them, you’ll still see minaret towers from the famous mosques of Istanbul everywhere you look.
3. Beyazit Tower
Before the present Beyazit Tower existed, there’s a former Beyazit Tower that stood in its place. This old Beyazit Tower was built out of wood by Senekerim Balayan’s sibling. The fire eventually destroyed the wooden Beyazit tower. In turn, leading to the construction of the present Beyazit Tower in 1828.
Funding the construction of Beyazit Tower was managed by Sultan Mahmud. The chief architect who designed it, and who built it out of solid stone was Senekerim Balayan.
Beyazit served as a watchtower for preventing fires from completely devastating Istanbul having the same purpose as the Galata Tower and Icadeyi Tower.
Later on, when the use of ships became popular, Beyazit Tower was used for maritime communication and navigation. As maritime technology became more advanced, Beyazit Tower ceased to serve this purpose. At present, it acts as a highly restricted tower that only a few tourists can visit.