Galata is the most cosmopolitan historical neighbourhood of Istanbul, it's also one of the most picturesque, because it overlooks the old town of Istanbul.
The most famous landmark here is the Galata Tower, which was built by the Genoese 700 years ago and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city centre. The Genoese actually controlled this part of the city for 180 years and their marks can still be seen everywhere in Galata. The neighbourhood was also home to a large Jewish population during the Ottoman Empire, so you'll find a lot of Jewish heritage here too.
On this tour, I'll lead you to the best spots to take pictures of the Galata Tower as well as panoramic cityscapes of Istanbul. You'll pass through the hardware market area, where shop blinds and walls are adorned with graffiti and a careful eye will spot intricate patterns to photograph. From there, the route carries on to a 450 year-old caravanserai, traditional Turkish houses, temples, art galleries, museums, and a local fish market with fish sandwich carts lining the shore against the silhouette of the Old Town.
Neve Shalom Synagogue, Galata Tower, Kamondo Stairs, Ottoman Bank Museum, Arap Mosque, Rustem Pasa Kursunlu Han
The starting point is Sishane Park. The best way to get to the starting point is using the Metro line M2 (Yenikapi-Haciosman) and get off at the Şişhane station. From here follow the signs to Kasımpaşa and after the turnstiles turn right and exit from the right hand side where you'll see the sign for the Refik Saydam Cad. exit. When you're out, the starting point will be a short walk on the left hand side behind you, in the southwest direction, on top of the underground parking lot.
Places to stop along the way:
Jewish Museum, Galata Tower, Ashkenazi Synagogue, SALT Galata, Osmanli Bank Museum, cafes and restaurants around Galata Tower, seafood restaurants and fish sandwich carts near the water.
Best time of day:
Late afternoon would the the best as the light is softer and Galata Tower looks great in the pictures when lit. Early morning will work fine too for many spots especially for the cityscapes towards the Golden Horn. Also Galata Tower will be less crowded to visit in the morning. Avoid doing this tour in harsh daylight. Walking this route more than once in different time frames will increase the opportunities for better pictures.
Arab Mosque will be closed to visits during prayers, if this is the case you may try to re-visit in 20-30 minutes. Also watch the opening times for museums and temples you're planning to visit on the way. You will need your passport if you are visiting the Jewish Museum.
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