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White Tower, Museum of Thessaloniki

The landmark of Thessaloniki was a tower of the city walls.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1912 - )

    At the beginning of the 20th century, it was decided to be converted into a multidisciplinary museum and weather station. The museum became a reality almost 90 years later.

    2006 Operates as Museum of the city of Thessaloniki.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1912)

    The method and materials of construction show that it was built after the sack of the city by the Turks, perhaps in the late 15th century, to replace a Byzantine tower.

  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

This tower is the symbol of Thessaloniki. It has a cylindrical shape with a 22.70-metres diameter, six floors and is 33.90 metres high. In the middle of its main body, it is decorated with a limestone cornice. It is also crowned with a cylindrical tower with battlements. On the top, ceremonies of a lowering and raising of the Greek flag take place every day. The main body of the monument ends up in battlements too. These are based on limestone corbels which are linked with small arches. The small arches, like some other early renaissance elements, are a Venetian influence. From here, one can enjoy different views of the city and the Thermaic Gulf. It has an interesting interior, where rooms of a 8.50-metre diameter around its circular core, meanders a 120-metre long screwed staircase. Nowadays, the tower houses a very interesting digital museum of the city’s history and on the rooftop, digital dishes of Greek cuisine are “served” and one can monitor how they are made.

What I can't see

There was an earlier tower in its place, part of the Byzantine fortification. Although it currently stands alone in the city’s coast, it used to be the south tower of the city’s fortification and a very important defensive point of the harbour. Through the eastern walls, it was linked with the similarly constructed Trigoniou Tower, crowning Ano Poli (Upper Town) to the northeast. Similarly, it was linked with the fortress of Vardar in the southwest, through the sea walls. The sea walls and much of the eastern ones started being demolished in the 19th century, until the early 20th century. It was surrounded by an octagonal enclosure supported by towers on its corners. During its long history, the tower has occasionally changed names and uses. According to various sources, it has previously been called Tower of Kalamaria, of the Janizaries, of Blood. The last two, show that the tower was not only of defensive use but were also the headquarters of the military force of Janizaries (Ottoman period) and a prison for convicts. According to tradition, its present name was given when a Jewish prisoner whitewashed its walls in exchange for his freedom. After the integration of the city into Greece, many wanted it demolished because they saw it as a bad symbol of Turkish architecture. Eventually, it was saved by a decision, which led to it being designated as a monument. The tendency then to completely “Hellenize” the urban landscape did not prevail in the end. Thus, the international image of the city was strengthened as the monument is similar to other architectural monuments that exist in other cities-ports of the Mediterranean.



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