The Galata Tower is one of the best places to go for a panoramic view of the Old Istanbul. Don’t forget to try the fish sandwiches by the Galata Bridge.


View of Old #Istanbul from the Galata Tower. #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

The sun beamed at a 45 degree angle as I took the bus over the Galata Bridge. I climbed up the vertical hill before reaching the foot of the medieval stone cylinder, where a line already snaked around the base.

The Galata Tower stands out as one of Istanbul’s most striking landmarks. The blue cone capped tower oversees The Golden Horn, The Bosporus River, the Sea of Marmara and the skyline of Old Istanbul dotted with minarets and dome mosques. It also has a restaurant, a café and a nightclub.

It was built by the Genoese in 1348 to fortify the city. After the Ottoman Conquest, it became a holding place for captured war prisoners and a watch tower for spotting fires.

There is an Old Galata Tower called the Megalos Pyrogos, which was built during the Byzantine period in another location. It was used to control the entrance of the Golden Horn. However, the old tower was destroyed during the Fourth Crusade.

The deck at the top of the tower is just wide enough for one person to pass through, but tourists are impatient. They squeeze by any chance they get forcing the person standing closest to the fence to get a thrilling view of the 220 foot drop.

The city looks different at night, but just as lively as it is during the day. The lights below are like the heartbeats of the city. Everything had a pulse – the restaurants, the cars, the mosques, the ferries, the streets…everything.

I made my way back over to the Eminonu district via the under path below the Galata Bridge. Restaurants filled the length of the bridge from one end to the other. Looking out towards the water, I could see the almost invisible fishing lines that were dangling from above.

At the end of the Galata Bridge in the Eminonu district, three neon flashing fishing boats rocked heavily from left to right. They were Eminonu’s famous fish boats that served fish sandiches straight from the deck. After a long walk across the Galata Bridge, the perfect way to end the night is to people-watch as I inhaled my delicious fish sandwiches.

Monica reflects on her travels by sharing her thoughts on A Cup of Moca. She writes about her journey as she experiences the destination to encourage others to marinate in the moment instead of just checking things off a bucket list.