Galata Tower Istanbul

Built in 1348, the Galata Tower was the tallest building in then Constantinople standing at 66.9 meters tall--it remains an iconic city landmark to this day. Serving a variety of purposes from prison to fire lookout across the empires and rebuilt or remodeled dozens of times, the tower was finally turned into a permanent tourist attraction in the 1960s. Located in the suburb of Beyoǧlu rising steeply from the shoreline north of the Galata Bridge, the tower delivers one of the best panoramic views back on the Golden Horn and Old Istanbul. An elevator whisks you to the 7th floor from where you need to climb the final two stories to reach the observation deck. Step outside on the balcony, walk around the tower’s summit, and enjoy the spectacular views--for best effect, show up for sunset with the call to prayer as your soundtrack. Albeit touristy, the square surrounding the tower is a great place to grab a pide or a coffee before continuing the climb up the narrow cobblestone alleys to the shopping and nightlife of Istiklal Street. For those wanting to try classic Anatolian cuisine, head to Kiva Han on the square for some stuffed grape leaves in plum sauce (sarma) or stuffed eggplants.