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White Tower of Thessaloniki

The most symbolic historical attraction of Thessaloniki, the White Tower was built in the 15th century. The most symbolic historical attraction of Thessaloniki, its White Tower, was built in the 15th century. Initially, it was one of the three towers of the Byzantine fortification of the city, the eastern end of the sea walls, in the place which the Tower was built, which remains to this day on the coast of Thessaloniki. It has a circular shape and a height of 33.90 meters.

It is built with stones, mortar, and partial use of bricks, while on the ramparts, on the roof of the entrance and the ground floor, and on the arch of the staircase it was built only with bricks. Through time it is mentioned by various names: “Tower of Leontos” in the 16th century and “Kalamaria Tower” in the 18th, while in the 149th century, depending on its use, it was named: “Janitsar’s Tower” and “ Tower of Blood” (“Kanli Koule”) when it became a prison and a place of execution of convicts. The historian Michael Hatzi Ioannou in 1888, in his book on monuments of the city, calls him "Bastille of Thessaloniki", where the death row inmates were slaughtered on its balcony, and blood stained its walls, while a cannon shot from the west of the city meant the execution of the death penalty. In 1883, by order of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the tower was painted white and given the name White ("Beyaz Koule").

After the liberation of the city in 1912 and its integration into the Greek state, the Tower had various uses. During World War I, one floor was used to preserve antiquities from excavations by the Eastern Army Archaeological Service. Its premises hosted the city air defense, the meteorological laboratory of the Aristotle University, and scout systems.

In 1983 the Tower was handed over to the Ministry of Culture. This was followed by maintenance, restoration, and configuration of the space to celebrate the 2,500 years of the city. The White Tower has a ground floor and six floors, is open to the public and since 2008 hosts a permanent exhibition concerning Thessaloniki since its founding in 316/15 BC. to this day.


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