Built by Genoese settlers in 1348 as an expansion of their colony on the north shore of the city, Galata tower was the key component to a larger defensive structure, most of which had been dismantled by the time of the Ottomans.
In the 17th century, the tower is purported to have served as the launch point for one of the earliest sustained, unpowered attempts at human flight. According to reports from a travelling historian, a man named Hezafen Ahmet Chelebi strapped himself into a homemade glider one fine day in 1632, and threw himself off the tower's cornice. According to this one (and the only) eyewitness, Herzafen's flight took him over Galata and across the Bosphorus waterway, where he landed safely on the shores of the Asian continent. Awed by his apparently supernatural abilities, the Sultan Murad paid Herzafen a fat bag of gold coins, then banished him to Algeria where he died some years later.