Galata was a neighbourhood opposite Constantinople (today's Istanbul), located at the northern shore of the Golden Horn, the inlet which separates it from the historic peninsula of old Constantinople. The Golden Horn is crossed by several bridges, most notably the Galata Bridge. The medieval citadel of Galata was a colony of the Republic of Genoa between 1273 and 1453. The famous Galata Tower was built by the Genoese in 1348 at the northernmost and highest point of the citadel. At present, Galata is a quarter within the borough of Beyoğlu in Istanbul, and is known as Karaköy.
There are several theories concerning the origin of the name Galata. According to the Italians, the name comes from calata (meaning "downward slope"), as the neighbourhood is sloped and goes downwards to the sea from a hilltop. The Greeks believe that the name comes either from galatas (meaning "milkman"), as the area was used by shepherds in the early medieval period, or from the word Galatai (meaning "Gauls"), as the Celtic tribe of Gauls were thought to have camped here during the Hellenistic period before settling into Galatia in central Anatolia. The inhabitants of Galatia are famous for the Epistle to the Galatians and the Dying Galatian statue.