The White Tower is one of the most recognizable structures of Thessaloniki. Actually, there is no doubt that this tower, which was a part of the fortification of medieval Thessaloniki is today the absolute symbol and trademark of the city.
When the White Tower (Lefkos Pirgos) was built?
The current structure replaced a previous tower of the 12th century and according to historians, it was built between 1450 and 1470. It is a cylindrical structure with 6 floors, Its highest point is 34 meters above the ground and has a perimeter of 70 meters.
The last time it was renovated was in 1985 and since then it is a museum that hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions. It is organized by the Museum of Byzantine Culture while its main exhibition is dedicated to the history of the city through the centuries.
How the White Tower was named through the years?
Through the years the tower was served as a fortress, a garrison, and a prison. It was in 1826 when the building gained the name "Tower of Blood" or "red Tower" due to the massacre of rebellious Janissaries who were imprisoned here after the order of Sultan Mahmud ll. The present name "White Tower" was acquired by the monument when Thessaloniki became officially a part of Greece in 1912. Then as a symbolic gesture of cleansing, the tower was whitewashed and this fact provided the new name.
Apart from the countless tourists who visit the White Tower, it is a typical destination for the schools of Thessaloniki and other areas. While last but not least, a picture of the whole city from the tower's highest point is an absolute souvenir of Thessaloniki.