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The Galata Tower
Monday, June 24
Hungry from our morning of walking and shopping, we chose to stop at an open-air restaurant just outside the Grand Bazaar - a place called the Melita Cafe. It turned out to be rather mediocre, but served us well enough - apart from a waiter accidentally making a mark on Asmir's shorts with his pen!
Shops, Istanbul
Melita Cafe
After lunch, we decided it was time to break free of the confines of Old Istanbul. We had now intensively visited many sites in the small peninsula that defined the Old city's boundaries, and we decided to visit something a bit farther away - the Galata Tower.
Looking back to New Mosque
Scenic Istanbul Streets
Galata Tower
We had seen the stubby point of the Galata Tower yesterday, when we had visited the Spice Bazaar. It sits on a hill on the "New Istanbul" side of the Golden Horn inlet, and provides a panoramic view over most of greater Istanbul. To get to the tower, we headed north, down past the Spice Bazaar and onto the Galata Bridge - one of three bridges spanning the Golden Horn inlet.
courtesy JInnes
Crossing Galata Bridge
Symmetrical Stairs
Galata Tower
Once across the bridge, we made our way through various narrow streets that led steeply up the hill towards the tower's location. We were all quite overheated and in need of a break at the top, so we stopped briefly in a shaded tower-side cafe for some refreshments.

The tower itself survives from the late Byzantine. Specifically, it was built by a Genoese colony that lived in this section of Istanbul (Constantinople) in the mid 1300s. It is a nine-story high stone and brick structure. An observation deck exists near the top, and I decided to go up and get some nice overview-like shots of downtown Istanbul. There was an admission fee to climb the tower (can't remember exact amount at the moment).
Galata Tower
View south-east from tower
Topkapi Palace
Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque
Istanbul Intersection
Towards Old Istanbul
Apart from the expected excellent views back over the Golden Horn to the Old City, the other thing that struck me was the endless, dense urbanization that spread in any direction or location that wasn't covered by water. I could feel the pressure of Istanbul's nearly fourteen million people from up here.
Across the Bosphorus
Endless Urbanization
View north-east from tower
Turning my view to the north, towards the newer sections of Istanbul's downtown, I scanned for the green rectangle of Gezi Park and nearby Taksim square. These were quite famous during the period of our trip, being the focus of a popular discontent towards the behavior of Turkey's national government. Protests and police actions in Taksim square were common in nightly news around the globe in the spring and summer of 2013. In the end, I couldn't actually see Taksim square from the Galata tower, but I knew it was close. It would be interesting, I wondered, to wander up to the square, perhaps only a kilometre away from here. I don't think the rest of our group would have been much interested, and in any case, I guess it is probably safer to head away from middle-eastern protests these days, rather than towards them...

Descending back to ground level, we began our walk back down the hill. Rather than walk the entire way back to the hotel, we decided to try one of Istanbul's modern tram lines. This was quite cheap and worked surprisingly well (although it was a bit crowded), smoothly and efficiently dropping us off near the Blue Mosque, where it was only a five-minute walk back to the hotel.
Turkish Synagogue
Istanbul tram
Back at the hotel
Interactive trackmap with photo points - Istanbul walks, Day 2 - click map to view
Day 2 Morning - Walk Data
Start Time: 8:30AM
End Time: 12:27PM
Duration: 3h56m
Distance: 6.59 km (4.1 mi)
Average Speed: 1.7 km/hr (1.0 mph)
Start Elevation: 149ft (45m) *
Max Elevation: 253ft (77m) *
Min Elevation: 124ft (38m) *
End Elevation: 198ft (60m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 203ft (62m) *
Total Elevation Loss: 137ft (42m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Elevation Graph
Day 2 Afternoon - Walk Data
Start Time: 1:28PM
End Time: 3:55PM
Duration: 2h27m
Distance: 6.27 km (3.9 mi)
Average Speed: 2.6 km/hr (1.6 mph)
Start Elevation: 205ft (63m) *
Max Elevation: 321ft (98m) *
Min Elevation: 23ft (7m) *
End Elevation: 81ft (25m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 393ft (120m) *
Total Elevation Loss: 501ft (153m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Elevation Graph
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[ Return to "European Hopscotch" Home page | Introduction | Switzerland | Oberalpstock I | Oberalpstock II | Alpenbreak | Vorderalp | Rheinwaldhorn I | Rheinwaldhorn II | Return to Germany | Daniel's Birthday | Turkey | Topkapi Palace | Hagia Sophia | Spice Bazaar | Blue Mosque | Grand Bazaar | Süleymaniye Mosque | Galata Tower | Farewell to Turkey | Turkey to Italy | Italy | "Tour" Day | Venice | Ferrata for Sophie | Ferrata for Luke | Epilogue | GPS Data ]

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