The tower was built as Christea Turris in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoesecolony in Constantinople.The Galata Tower was the tallest building in Istanbul at 219½ feet (66.9 m) when it was built in 1348. 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 Old Istanbul or Constantinople and its environs. The nine-story tower is 66.90 meters tall (62.59 m without the ornament on top, 51.65 m at the observation deck), and 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 café 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.
Albumen print of the Galata Tower, taken by J. Pascal Sébah between 1875-1895. Here the tower has the cupola that was built after the storm of 1875. The present-day conical top is a reconstruction of a previous one, and was built during restoration works between 1965 and 1967.