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Vardaris Fortress- Top Hane

Ottoman fortress of the 16th century in the western part of the city centre.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1912 - )

    1981 Restoration.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1912)

    1546 It was built when Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent stayed in the city.

    1741 Repairs and reinforcement.

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

On the west side of the centre there is the Fortress of Vardari or Top Hane (which in Turkish means artillery tower). It was also called Tobac Hane (tannery tower). It was the main fortress of the city during the Ottoman period, and has an elliptical enclosure adjacent to the walls. It includes parts of the Byzantine fortification, which was later modernized by the Turks. Other parts of the enclosure were built in different phases of the Ottoman period. On the east side, there is the 9th century Byzantine Anaglyphos (Relief) Tower, which was named after a walled Hellenistic relief. The location of the fortress was previously the western end of the port built by the emperor Constantine the Great (the sea then reached the present Frangon Street), and has a total area of ​​1

What I can't see

A little further north, on Egnatia Street, was the Golden Gate. This contained a triumphal arch, probably in honour of the Roman emperor Octavian, before being demolished in 1874. The inhabitants tried to escape from there during the sack of the city by the Saracens in 904. After the occupation of the city by the Turks, the southern part of the wall in Top Hane was widened by 18m. This created an embankment on which 3 powder kegs were constructed. When Thessaloniki was integrated with Greece in 1912, armor and other items were found in the warehouses that belonged to the city’s defenders during the Turkish invasion in 1430. At the same time (1912), the fortress housed the Ephorate of War Material. In the Tower of Anaglyphos, in a marble inscription, were found engraved the names of those who repaired it during the Byzantine years (royal protospatharios Marinos and royal stratrator Kakikis).









  • Address: Fragkon & Polytexniou St.


Anastasiadou Μ., (2008), Θεσσαλονίκη 1830-1912, η μητρόπολη στην εποχή των οθωμανικών μεταρρυθμίσεων, [Thessaloniki 1830-1912, the metropolis in the era of Ottoman reforms] ESTIA


Zafeiris Ch. (1997), Θεσσαλονίκης Εγκόλπιον, ιστορία, πολιτισμός, η πόλη σήμερα, γεύσεις, μουσεία, μνημεία, διαδρομές, [Thessaloniki Handbook, history, culture, the city today, flavours, museums, routes], Athens: Exantas


Kourkoutidou- Nikolaidou E., Tourta A., (1997), Περίπατοι στη Βυζαντινή Θεσσαλονίκη, [Walks in the Byzantine Thessaloniki], Athens: Kapon publications


Makri, Ε. (1982), Συμπληρωματικά αρχαιολογικά στοιχεία για το φρούριο Βαρδαρίου Θεσσαλονίκης,[ Additional archeological data for the fortress of Vardari, Thessaloniki], in Makedonika, 22(1), 133–153, .


Serefas S., Petridis P., (2012), Εδώ: Τόποι βίας στη Θεσσαλονίκη, [Here: Places of violence in Thessaloniki], Agra


Εldem E., (2015), Μια νέα ματιά σε μια αρχαία πόλη: Η Θεσσαλονίκη στην οθωμανική Αρχαιολογία, [A new look at an ancient city: Thessaloniki in Ottoman Archeology], in Kairidis D. (2015), (επ), Θεσσαλονίκη, μια πόλη σε μετάβαση, 1912- 2012, [Thessaloniki, a city in transition, 1912-2012], OFF, PEEV, Νavarino Network, Epikentro, p.127-146