Galata is a lively neighborhood in Istanbul with lots to see and do. From old buildings to shopping and sports, there’s something for everyone. Come explore the must-do things in this awesome area!
Table of Contents
1. Climb Galata Tower
Galata Tower, offering one of the most stunning views of Istanbul, has a rich history dating back to 507 when it was constructed by the Byzantines. Originally built as a lighthouse, the tower has served various purposes over the years, including as an observatory and a fire watchtower. Standing at a height of 70 meters, climbing to the top of this iconic structure is a must-do activity when you’re in the Galata area. The panoramic views from the top are simply breathtaking and provide a unique perspective of the city’s landscape.
2. Take in the beautiful views of the Bosphorus on Galata Bridge
The Galata Bridge is a popular spot for both local and international tourists. This bustling bridge, complete with fishermen casting their lines and entertainment venues below, can be crossed on foot in just 10 minutes. However, you’ll likely want to spend more time there, especially if you stop midway to take in the beautiful views of the Bosphorus and the ships sailing by. It’s a great place to experience the vibrant energy of the city while also enjoying some scenic moments.
3. Visit Galata Mevlevi Lodge
The Mevlevihane, or Galata Mevlevi Lodge, is situated at the base of the iconic Galata Tower in the Beyoğlu Galata district of Istanbul. Established in 1491 during the reign of Sultan Bayezid II, the lodge has been functioning as a museum since 1975. The museum showcases a variety of artifacts related to Mevlevi culture, including period calligraphy plates, musical instruments, and traditional clothing.
After the closure of such lodges in 1925, the Galata Mevlevi Lodge served various purposes, including as a primary school and temporary lodging. It was only after extensive renovations and arrangements carried out between 1967 and 1975 that the building was repurposed as a museum. Today, it stands as a testament to the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the Mevlevi order, offering visitors a glimpse into this fascinating aspect of Turkish history.
Location: Şahkulu, Galip Dede Cd. No:15, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
4. Visit Crimean Memorial Church (Kırım Kilisesi)
The Anglican Church in Beyoğlu, Istanbul, holds special significance for the Sri Lankan Anglican community. Located on Serdarı Ekrem Street, which leads to Galip Dede Street, the church has a rich history. It was founded in 1856 by Lord Stratford Canning on land that was once an old Greek Cemetery. Sultan Abdulmecid allocated this site to the British for the purpose of building a church to honor British soldiers who had fought in the Crimean War.
However, the church faced challenges in the 1970s when its congregation dwindled, leading to its closure for worship. It wasn’t until 1990 that the church was revitalized. Sri Lankan refugees, under the guidance of an Anglican Church priest, took on the task of restoring the building. After the renovations were completed, the church was reopened for worship, serving as a spiritual home for the Sri Lankan Anglican community in Istanbul.
Location: Şahkulu, Serdar-ı Ekrem Cd. No:52, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
5. See Sokollu Mehmed Pasha Mosque (Azapkapı)
The Azapkapı Mosque in Istanbul is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture and a testament to the genius of Mimar Sinan, one of the most celebrated architects of the period. Constructed between 1577 and 1578, the mosque was commissioned by Sokollu Mehmet Pasha, a prominent statesman of the Ottoman Empire.
The mosque is not just a place of worship but a complex that includes a fountain, making it one of the more elaborate and beautiful mosques designed by Mimar Sinan. Its architectural elements and intricate details make it a standout landmark in Istanbul, reflecting both the grandeur of the Ottoman era and the artistic mastery of its famed architect.
Location: Azapkapı, Tersane Cd., 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
6. Climb Kamondo Stairs
The Kamondo Stairs in Istanbul serve as a historical and architectural bridge between Voyvoda Street and Bankerler Street. Built in the 1850s, these stairs were constructed in memory of Abraham Salomon Kamondo, a significant figure from the influential Kamondo Family. Kamondo was a man of considerable influence among the statesmen and grand viziers of his time.
The stairs themselves are more than just a functional structure; they have become a symbol of cultural unity. Their design reflects the harmonious blending of different cultures, much like the city of St. Petersburg, which is known for its multiculturalism. Over time, the Kamondo Stairs have evolved into an iconic landmark, representing not just the legacy of the Kamondo Family but also the rich tapestry of cultures that make up the area.
7. Take some pictures on Serdar-ı Ekrem Street
Serdar-ı Ekrem Street in Galata has become a haven for photography enthusiasts, offering a rich tapestry of historical and aesthetic elements. With its cobblestone pavements, historical houses, and an atmosphere steeped in history, this street provides a picturesque backdrop for both amateur and professional photographers.
8. Hop on tram on Istiklal Street
Istiklal Street is a bustling hub of activity that captivates everyone who walks its length. From diverse restaurants and dessert shops to antique stores, well-known Western brands, and unique boutiques, there’s something for everyone. Street performers add a lively touch, and the constant flow of locals and tourists creates a vibrant atmosphere. It’s not just a shopping paradise; it’s also a great spot for people-watching. If you don’t feel like walking, you can hop on one of the vintage red trams that traverse the street, offering a charming and convenient way to see it all.
9. Visit Istanbul Museum of Modern Art
The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art is a cornerstone of Turkey’s art landscape, celebrating both local artists and international influences. With its diverse workshops and exhibitions, the museum serves as both an educational and inspirational space. Its primary mission is to elevate and showcase the richness of Turkish art and culture. The museum brilliantly captures the essence of traditional Turkish art while also reflecting how it has evolved over time through global interactions. This is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art and culture.
Location: Kılıçali Paşa, Tophane İskele Cd. No:1/1, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul
10. Marvel at The Church of St. Anthony of Padua
The Church of St. Anthony of Padua stands as the largest Roman Catholic church in Istanbul, and it’s a testament to the city’s diverse religious heritage. Built between 1906 and 1912 by Istanbul’s Italian community, the church is an architectural marvel with its Gothic features and tranquil interior. Not just a historical site, the church remains an active place of worship, welcoming visitors to attend its services. Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or someone interested in religious diversity, this church offers a unique glimpse into Istanbul’s multifaceted culture.
Location: Tomtom, İstiklal Cd. No:171, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul