The story behind Thessaloniki’s White Tower

2 minutes to read

Thessaloniki is the second largest city of Greece and definitely one of the most popular and interesting destinations of the country. Thessaloniki is easy to fall in love with – it has beauty, chaos, history and culture, a remarkable cuisine and of course, wonderful sea views.

Thessaloniki has something for everyone and a visit there will definitely steal your heart! If you’re looking for info as well as for suggestions on what to do and how to spend a day in Thessaloniki as a local would, go ahead and have a look at my previous articles. The upper town, the castles, the vast sea view, the food, the nightlife, the relaxed lifestyle and of course, its people will no doubt guarantee a wonderful and unforgettable experience upon your visit to the Greek co-capital! 

There are a lot of second largest or second… best cities in every country. However, Thessaloniki's popular by the nickname of  "Symprotévousa" literally meaning "the co-capital", a reference to its historical status as the "Symvasilévousa" or "co-reigning" city of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, alongside Constantinople. - Wikipedia

But what’s the story behind the city’s most visited landmark?

Undeniably the most popular monument in Thessaloniki and trademark of the city, is the White Tower, located right at the waterfront and consequently in the city’s heart!

© Photo: nedomacki
© Photo: nedomacki

The White Tower is as said,  the most recognisable spot in Thessaloniki. In fact, it is depicted on all types of souvenirs while it has been photographed from all angles, in all seasons and at each hour of the day, becoming that way the first image that comes to mind when someone thinks of “Thessaloniki”.  The White Tower is of course inextricably linked to the history of the city, since it has never ceased to play an important role throughout the times.

White Tower of Thessaloniki
White Tower of Thessaloniki
Thessalonique 546 21
The tower was built in 15th century in order to replace an older 12th century Byzantine fortification while it was later recontsructed by the Ottomans. It was used as a fort enhancing the harbors defences, as a garrison and a prison. Because of its fame as a notorious prison it was also known as “Tower of Blood” (Kanli Kule) or “Red Tower”. It was renamed to White tower (Torre Blanca) after it was whitewashed possibly in 1891.- "InThessaloniki official website"
© Photo: fotofritz16
© Photo: fotofritz16

The White Tower's Museum 

The museum located right inside the white tower, offers everyone the chance to travel through the centuries and focus on the major historic milestones of the city’s life. Thessaloniki’s great strategic position has led to its massive transformations through times;  it has welcomed a plethora of different populations and cultures, which of course played a crucial role into the city's identity formation. Such information is thematically arranged into the museum, in a form of photographs, multimedia projects, videos, artefacts and of course educational and interactive material ideal for visitors of all ages. 

© Photo: fotofritz16
© Photo: fotofritz16

Interesting towns related to this story


The author

Chrisa Lepida

Chrisa Lepida

My name is Chrisa and I come from Greece. As nature lover, winter sports addict and Erasmus obsessed, I’m always writing about these topics.

Stories you might also like