White Tower of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki

White Tower of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki (must see)

The 23 meters (75 feet) tall White Tower is known as the symbol of Thessaloniki. The Ottomans built the tower around 15th century. It is thought that the fortress was designed by the famous Ottoman architect Mirmar Sinan. It was originally surrounded by fortified walls and was an essential part of Thessaloniki's defenses.

When it was first constructed, it was known as the Lion Tower to honor the Ottoman's victory. The tower was part of the old city's walls and separated the Jewish quarter from the Muslim quarter.

It was renamed the Tower of Kalamaria in the 17th century. It was then used as a garrison. Next, the tower was used as a prison and became known as the Tower of Blood or the Red Tower. During this time, the tower was the site of torture and execution. For example, in 1826, Sultan Mahmud II ordered the massacre of the rebellious Janissaries imprisoned in the tower.

Finally, the tower was painted white in 1891 and named the White Tower. Some historians suggest that the Ottoman Empire sought to "whitewash" the tower's brutal torture history with a change of paint and a new name. While the truth behind the change is unknown, the White Tower name has stuck.

King George I of Greece was assassinated near the White Tower in 1913. Hopefully this was the last drop of blood for the White Tower.

The tower served as an Allied forces communication center during World War I. At this time, the defensive walls were taken down. The White Tower also protected priceless antiquities during World War I.

Thessaloniki's air defense operated from the tower from 1912 to 1983. The tower also housed a meteorological laboratory.

Visitors can enjoy expansive views of the city and Thermaic Gulf from the top floor. In addition, the promenade in front of the tower is a popular spot for photos and meetings.

The White Tower is home to a museum that celebrates Thessaloniki's history. Exhibitions explore the city's history from its founding in 316 BC to today.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Thessaloniki. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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White Tower of Thessaloniki on Map

Sight Name: White Tower of Thessaloniki
Sight Location: Thessaloniki, Greece (See walking tours in Thessaloniki)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Thessaloniki, Greece

Create Your Own Walk in Thessaloniki

Create Your Own Walk in Thessaloniki

Creating your own self-guided walk in Thessaloniki is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Thessaloniki Introduction Walking Tour

Thessaloniki Introduction Walking Tour

Thessaloniki is Greece's second-largest city as well as its second major political, industrial, commercial, and economic center.

Historically, Thessaloniki co-ruled the Byzantine Empire along with Constantinople. But its history goes back even further than that. Cassander of Macedon originally founded the city in 315 BC. Cassander named the city after his wife, Thessalonike. Thessalonike...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Thessaloniki Upper Town Walking Tour

Thessaloniki Upper Town Walking Tour

Thessaloniki's Upper Town (Ano Poli) is the most ancient part of the city, aged approximately 2,300 years. Being also the highest part of Thessaloniki, dominated by the Acropolis with the Byzantine-/Ottoman-era fort known as Heptapyrgion (Eptapyrgio), from here on a clear day you can see way across the gulf, as far as Mount Olympus, some 80 km (50 miles) away, towering over the horizon in all...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Thessaloniki Waterfront Tour

Thessaloniki Waterfront Tour

The Mediterranean has always been an integral part of Thessaloniki’s appeal. The city's orientation toward the sea is largely due to the vision of Ernest Hébrard, the French urban planner and architect, who redesigned the downtown area after the devastating fire of 1917.

To really get the taste of Thessaloniki you need to visit not just its historical landmarks, but also those spots...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles