White Tower — The Symbol of Thessaloniki
White Tower is the most prominent landmark of Thessaloniki. You can see it on every other postcard or souvenir from the city. White Tower stands on the city waterfront where once it protected the city from coastal attacks. Now it is at the end of a lovely promenade that begins from the Aristotelous Square and it functions as a museum.
White Tower stands 34 meters tall with a 6 meter tall turret. It was once surrounded by a round wall called chemise that housed strong cannons and made the Tower the strongest point in the city’s defense. However the role of the tower in the past was far more sinister. It was a prison during the Ottoman rule and it was notorious for mass executions and enslavement of Greek patriots. Because of its fame as a brutal prison it was also known as “Tower of Blood” (Kanli Kule) or “Red Tower”. After the liberation of Thessaloniki in 1912 it was whitewashed and got the present name “White Tower”. After this ritual cleansing it became the symbol of the city.
The White Tower never stopped guarding Thessaloniki. During the First World War, the allies used it as a communications center. At the same time the British expeditionary corps used it to house countless saved antiquities. After the war and up until 1983 the Tower served the Greek army as the air defense center of Thessaloniki.
From the fortress that the Ottomans used to keep the city under their rule, to the air defense center, White Tower always protected the city. Nowadays it is a museum and protects the cultural heritage of Thessaloniki. The permanent exhibition is dedicated to the city of Thessaloniki and it is organized by The Museum of Byzantine Culture. The Museum is envisioned as a starting point for the new visitors to the city. Tourists are introduced to the rich history of Thessaloniki and provided with a better understanding of the city itself.
The ground floor and each of the six storeys has its own theme focused on one of the historic periods of the city. The museum has a lot of multimedia presentations and utilizes modern information displays and techniques. The exhibition will provide you with all you want to know about Thessaloniki. From the timeline of the city’s history and the major events that shaped its future, to the lesser known information about the life of the inhabitants and the trade and spirit of the past.
The White Tower Museum is of course a must-see site during your visit to Thessaloniki. We would like to suggest to make it the starting point of your visit, so you can get familiar with the history of Thessaloniki and to have more context and to know more information when you visit the other important sites throughout the city.
Information about the White Tower Museum
Address: Thessaloniki 546 21
Phone: +30 231 026 7832
Opening hours for summer:
1 April — 31 October 2015
Standard fee: 3 euros
Reduced fee: 2 euros for EU senior citizens (over 65 years old), students from outside EU countries with student cards
Free entrance: visitors under 18 years old, students from EU countries, journalists, guides, soldiers
This travel guide was brought to you by Zaliki Boutique Hotel in Thessaloniki