White Tower & Castles of Thessaloniki
The White Tower of Thessaloniki is a monument and museum on the waterfront of the city of Thessaloniki, the capital of the region of Macedonia in northern Greece and a symbol of Greek sovereignty over Macedonia.
The present tower replaced an old Byzantine fortification, which was mentioned around the 12th century, and was reconstructed by the Ottomans to fortify the city's harbour. It became a notorious prison and scene of mass executions during the period Greece was under the Ottoman occupation.
It was substantially remodelled and its exterior was whitewashed after Greece gained control of the city in 1912 and has been adopted as the symbol of the city.
The castles and the walls of Thessaloniki were created in ancient times, as it was necessary to fortify the city. It is believed that they date back to the founding of the city.
The Acropolis of Thessaloniki was erected in ancient times on the city’s highest point. It was the second-tier fortification and was meant to offer shelter to the city population in case of raids. There, the castles were tall, the towers thick and where the ground allowed it, there were ramparts. Situated on the north-eastern corner of the acropolis and overlooking the city, is the Eptapyrgio, the third tier fortification, the last and strongest fort, with its strong walls and seven towers.
Of the seven towers in the fortress, the middle one that flanks the entrance was constructed in 1431. Until 1989, Eptapyrgio was used as a prison. In recent years, the fortress underwent many repairs, restorations and changes, while new spaces were created for museums and other cultural events.