Galata Tower, Istanbul…Torre Gálata, Estambul

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The Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi in Turkish) — called Christea Turris (the Tower of Christ in Latin) by the Genoese — is a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karaköy quarter of Istanbul, Turkey, just to the north of the Golden Horn’s junction with the Bosphorus. 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 Istanbul’s historic peninsula 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.
The Romanesque style tower was built as Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) in 1348 during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople. Galata Tower was the tallest building in Istanbul at 219½ feet (66.9 m) when it was built in 1348. It was built to replace the old Tower of Galata, an original Byzantine tower named Megalos Pyrgos (English: Great Tower) which controlled the northern end of the massive sea chain that closed the entrance to the Golden Horn. That tower was on a different site and was largely destroyed in 1203, during the Fourth Crusade of 1202–1204.
The upper section of the tower with the conical cap was slightly modified in several restorations during the Ottoman period when it was used as an observation tower for spotting fires.
According to the Seyahatname of Ottoman historian and traveller Evliya Çelebi, in circa 1630-1632, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew as an early intercontinental aviator using artificial wings for gliding from this tower over the Bosphorus to the slopes of Üsküdar on the Anatolian side, nearly six kilometres away. Evliyâ Çelebi also tells of Hezarfen’s brother, Lagari Hasan Çelebi, performing the first flight with a rocket in a conical cage filled with gunpowder in 1633.
Starting from 1717 the Ottomans began to use the tower for spotting fires in the city. In 1794, during the reign of Sultan Selim III, the roof of the tower was made of lead and wood, and the stairs were severely damaged by a fire. Another fire damaged the building in 1831, upon which a new restoration work took place.
In 1875, during a storm, the conical roof on the top of the building was destroyed. The tower remained without this conical roof for the rest of the Ottoman period. Many years later, during the restoration works between 1965 and 1967, the conical roof was reconstructed.[5][6] During this final restoration in the 1960s, the wooden interior of the tower was replaced by a concrete structure and it was commercialized and opened to the public.

Créditos de este texto:
La Torre de Gálata (en turco, Galata Kulesi), también llamada Christea Turris (torre de Cristo) por los genoveses y Megalos Pyrgos (la Gran Torre) por los bizantinos, se encuentra en Estambul, Turquía, al norte del Cuerno de Oro. Uno de los lugares más llamativos de la ciudad, domina el horizonte de Gálata.
Altura de 66,9 m (62,59 m sin el remate) y consta de nueve plantas. Cuando se construyó, se convirtió en la estructura más alta de la ciudad. La base de la torre se encuentra a 35 m sobre el nivel del mar. Tiene un diámetro de 16,45 m en la base, con 8,95 m de diámetro interior y paredes de 3,75 m de ancho. La planta mirador se encuentra a 51,65 m de altura.
La torre, llamada inicialmente Christea Turris, se construyó en 1348 como parte de la expansión de la colonia genovesa de Constantinopla. Se trataba de la construcción más alta de las fortificaciones que rodeaban la ciudadela genovesa de Gálata. La torre actual no es la misma que la antigua torre de Gálata, originariamente bizantina, llamada Megalos Pyrgos y que controlaba el extremo norte del mar a la entrada del Cuerno de Oro. Se encontraba en un lugar diferente y fue destruida durante la Cuarta Cruzada, en 1204.
La parte cónica superior de la torre se modificó en varias restauraciones durante el periodo otomano, cuando se utilizaba como torre de vigilancia.
Según el Seyahatname del historiador y viajero otomano Evliya Çelebi, alrededor de 1630, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi consiguió volar utilizando alas artificiales desde la torre hasta las colinas de Üsküdar, en la parte asiática.1 Evliya Çelebi también habla sobre el hermano de Hezarfen, Lagari Hasan Çelebi, que en 1633 realizó el primer vuelo con un cohete cónico lleno de pólvora. Las hazañas de los hermanos también se encuentran recogidas en el libro Discovery of a World in Moone de John Wilkins de 1638.
En la década de 1960, se sustituyó el interior original de madera por una estructura de hormigón y se abrió al público. En las plantas superiores hay un restaurante y una cafetería, desde donde se disfruta de unas magníficas vistas de Estambul y el Bósforo. En las plantas superiores también hay local de fiestas donde se llevan a cabo espectáculos turcos. Existen dos ascensores en funcionamiento.

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