The White Tower of Thessaloniki

The White Tower of Thessaloniki is the city’s most famous attraction and symbol, due to the long history and the architecture that characterize it.

It was built in the 15th century and was used as a fortress to strengthen the defense in the port, as a guard and as a prison. Because of its reputation as a notorious prison it was also known as the “Blood Tower” or the “Red Tower”. He was renamed “White Tower” probably in 1891 after his calcification. 

The tower, which once guarded the eastern end of the city’s sea walls, was for many years attributed to Venice, to which the Byzantines ceded Thessaloniki in 1423. It is now known that the tower was constructed by the Ottomans sometime after the army of Sultan Murad II captured Thessaloniki in 1430. Until 1912, an inscription in Ottoman Turkish verse above the door dated the structure to AH 942 (1535–1536).

The historian Franz Babinger speculated that the work was designed by the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, who is known to have built fortifications, including a similar tower at the Albanian port Valona in 1537.

It was surrounded by long walls that were capable of supporting a heavy weapon attack.

Today the White Tower of Thessaloniki is open to the public, and visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent panoramic views offered from its top. Inside the Tower a very special museum awaits visitors. The museum’s exhibition focuses on important moments and aspects of Thessaloniki’s life. The geographical location of the city as the focal point of the commercial and maritime routes of the wider region, the changes in urban development, important events of its history, as well as the spiritual and social life of the city, are some of the main issues that are approached in the various floors of the tower. Visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a stroll through the city’s founding 23 centuries ago, until the recent past.

The White Tower is a focal point for those who want to know more about the city, as it is at walking distance from the most important sights and monuments. 

Definitely the best place to start exploring Thessaloniki!

And if you enjoy walking, you can take a stroll up to Ano Poli. The view will make you love Thessaloniki even more!