I am generally terrified of heights. It’s something that I’ve been trying to overcome for the past couple of years, with increased vigor here in Turkey so I don’t miss out on anything worth seeing; which is a lot! Civilizations just love to build tall monuments on top of even taller mountains. It was with this mindset that Jen and I set out to reach the top of Galata Tower a few hours before our New Year’s festivities were to start (you can read about those adventures here).
We were lucky to reach the tower when we did, as we were perhaps two of the last five people to be allowed access to the observation deck before it closed for the night. If not for Jen with me, I most likely would not have been able to make it out on the deck at all. Inside the tower an elevator takes you perhaps five stories up, after which you have to climb a tight spiral staircase another two floors. Once on the deck, there is only about a foot and a half of space between the wall of the tower and the railing… and then the sheer eight story drop.
Needless to say I panicked. Although, with some encouragement, I eventually managed to feel comfortable enough to walk around the circumference of the tower taking pictures of the skyline. Let me tell you, it was amazing. Pictures can’t do it justice as Istanbul spreads out in all directions before you, seemingly layered upon itself. Istanbul by night might be one of the most amazing city scenes I’ve set seen.
Aside from some nerve-wracking but great memories, I took away an important lesson I’d been thinking over since visiting Urfa – if you have the opportunity to see a city from an elevated position, take it. As much as you may love or be disappointed with a city, seeing it from above offers a whole new perspective (pun intended?).
I’m still just amazed by the vastness of Galata Tower in general. The fact that it was originally built in 1348 and is still standing just astounds me – especially given the history of extremely destructive earthquakes in Istanbul.
Anyway, for more amazing photographs of the tower and the skyline check out Jen’s blog again; also, more importantly, there are great pictures of me there.