Nearly 15,000 people visit Istanbul’s landmark tower after reopening

Nearly 15,000 people visit Istanbul’s landmark tower after reopening

Nearly 15,000 people visit Istanbul’s landmark tower after reopening

More than 15,000 people visited the historical Galata Tower in a week, which reopened its doors after a controversial restoration process that lasted for three months.

The 672-year-old iconic tower, which was reopened by Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy last week, is flocked with visitors despite strict pandemic measures applied, according to a written statement by the ministry.

The works have ended recently in the tower, which was handed over to the General Directorate of Foundations while it was being operated by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

The terrace of the tower is reached by elevator, but while coming down, stairs are used instead so that one can see all the floors of the tower.

The restaurant and cafe inside the tower have been removed.

Bearing the deep traces of history from the Genoese to the Ottoman Empire, around 1,600 people visited Istanbul’s landmark on the first day of reopening, and the number of visitors gradually increased in the following days.

The daily visitor figures are expected to exceed 4,000 in Galata Tower, where regular checks for social distancing and wearing facemasks are being carried out by the official in line with COVID-19 measures.

Visitors to the tower, which takes its guests on a historical journey with its exhibition areas, are allowed inside the premises in a controlled manner to check the spread of the coronavirus.

In May, the ministry took over the authority to operate the Galata Tower from the municipality.

On Aug. 13, however, a video recorded on a mobile phone of restoration workers drilling down the stone wall of the tower created a political firestorm.

In the video, two restoration workers were seen drilling a corner of the inner wall of the tower with jackhammers.

Opposition leaders, the mayor of Istanbul, and many social media users reacted to the footage.

Galata Tower, one of the highest and oldest towers of Istanbul, was built in the 14th century by the Genoese colony as part of the defense wall surrounding their district in Beyoğlu, directly opposite of ancient Constantinople.