White Tower - Lefkos Pyrghos, Thessaloniki

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  • White Tower - Lefkos Pyrghos
    by mindcrime
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    going up White Tower
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    view from White Tower
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    White Tower

    by mindcrime Written May 13, 2015

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    Sto Lefko ton Pyrgo pira ta filia tis…
    (I took her kisses at the White Tower…)
    1976 Giorgos Zampetas:Ston Lefko Ton Pyrgo

    Located on the waterfront the Lefkos Pyrgos(White Tower) is not just another monument but the landmark of Thessaloniki. The entrance fee is only 3euros so it was hard for me to skip it as I love visiting towers because usually you get great views.

    What’s more the tower houses a nice exhibition about the history of Thessaloniki through its long history from its founding to the modern era, I didn’t know about this museum so it was a pleasant surprise although going up the tower worth it anyway.

    Because of the limited space and the need to maintain stable climatic conditions there’s a maximum limit of up to 70 visitors at a time but there were no more than 25 people when I got there on Saturday morning (june 2014). People with moving disabilities can be virtually guided through Info Stations on the ground floor as there’s no lift just the spiral stairway (pic 3) that leads to each floor with side doors.

    It was built in late 15th century on the site of an older byzantine tower, where the eastern wall and the sea wall met. It’s 34meters high and comprises ground floor and six storeys. Until the early 20th century it was surrounded by a low octagonal wall. It had many different names through the centuries, Lion’s Tower (16th century), Fortress of Kalamaria (18th century) and Blood Tower (19th century) because it served as a prison and a place of execution for long term convicts (the blood was covering the outer walls!). Its current named came in 1890 when the tower whitewashed by a convict in exchange for his freedom!

    After the liberation of Thessaloniki (1912) it housed City’s Air Defense and the meteorological laboratory of Aristotle University. Huge renovation started in 1983 when it was ceded to ministry of Culture.

    On each floor there are small rooms where you can see printed graphic compositions and multimedia applications but also some archaeological material. Each floor has a different theme:
    Ground floor (Thessaloniki, Space and Time)
    1st floor (Thessaloniki,Transformations)
    2nd floor (Thessaloniki, monuments and history)
    3rd floor (Thessaloniki, a homeland of people)
    4th floor (Thessaloniki, on the routes of commerce)
    5th floor (Thessaloniki, leisure and culture)
    6th floor houses the gift shop but I didn’t bother, I got out to enjoy the great panoramic view

    It’s open Tuesday to Sunday 8.30-15.00
    The entrance fee is 3euros(EU citizens over 65 2e, under 18 free, EU students free)

    Pic4 was taken on 2nd floor where there are some info boards. At some points there are windows to look outside and of course at the top you have panoramic views. As I don’t want to create separate reviews just for the views my last photo (pic 5) combines a couple looking through a small window and then the view from the top to both sides of the beach front.

    White Tower White Tower going up White Tower view from White Tower
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    A noticeable landmark on the foreshore

    by stevemt Written Mar 14, 2011

    The white tower is certainly prominant here. It has been turned into a very effective museum. You clime uo to the various levels inside via the spiral staircase and eventually reach the top from where the views are quite spectualar

    Staircase One of the views from the top
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  • csordila's Profile Photo

    White Tower in Thessaloniki

    by csordila Updated Jul 1, 2009

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    What Piazzas is to Rome, and the leaning Tower is to Pisa, that is the White Tower to Thessaloniki.
    The city itself was founded around 300 B.C. by Cassandros, king of Macedonia, who named it for his wife, sister of Alexander the Great, Thessalonica.
    The thirty metres high White Tower is the city's most famous landmark, although it is sometimes closed, but is worth seeing up from outside too.
    In its eventful history, at the very first time the tower was part of the city wall, then became a turkish prison and place of executions known as the Bloody Tower.
    On clear days from the top, you might even see the almost 3 thusands meters high Mount Olympus, which is only eighty kilometres away.

    Today houses a a museum of art and culture and no longer white. Free admission.

    Bloody Tower White Tower
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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    The city's characteristic monument

    by mikey_e Written Jul 2, 2007

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    The White Tower is not, in fact white - it was whitewashed after Thessaloniki became part of Greek sovereign territory, but the Greek stopped doing it and now it is its original colour. The Tower was originally erected and used as a prison for Janissary troops after a revolt against the order to modernize the army. Today it is a simply tourist monument with a café at the top of the Tower.

    The White Tower Mike in front of the White Tower
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  • White Tower Museum

    by dimilag Written Jun 12, 2007

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    The massive 35m/115ft high White Tower (from the top of which there are fine views of the city and the harbor) now houses a museum on the history and art of Byzantine Salonica from around A.D. 300 to its capture by the Turks in 1430 (Early Christian coins from the town mint, gravestones and grave goods, vases, mosaics, fragments of wall paintings, capitals, liturgical objects, etc.).

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  • elmina's Profile Photo

    The White Tower: Not just a Museum

    by elmina Written May 3, 2007

    Apart from being a Museum and THE national monument of the town, the White Tower is the place to celebrate. The Thessalonians celebrate there victories in sports, not only from the teams of the cities, but also in national teams, such as recently with the Euro 2004 and the Eurobasket 2005.
    The best wish to give to a sports-fan in Thessaloniki is "Ante na katevite kai ston Pirgo" [I wish you to come down to the Tower|

    celebrations after the Eurobasket 2005 final celebrations after the Euro 2004 final
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  • Educational, yet fun! lol

    by WillAntoniou Written Nov 26, 2006

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    Go check out the White Tower. here's what I learned while I was there:

    French Knights constructed the tower in 1536
    Later on, under the power of the Ottomans, it was used as a prison and tortue chamber.

    It currently serves as an exhibition cetner of the museum of Byzantine Culture.

    Unfortunately I didn't actually get to go inside, because it was closed for renovations. But take a walk, why not, check it out.

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  • traveloturc's Profile Photo

    What a contradiction !!!

    by traveloturc Updated Nov 21, 2006

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    Lefkos Pyrgos or the White Tower is the Symbol of Thessaloniki. they say that It was build
    in the "Turkish occupation" period .By the way this "Turkish Occupation " expression is very important because The Turks came to Anatolia in 1071 and they lived there for approximately 1000 years.The ex owners of the Anatolia which was "Byzantions" also they lived approximately 1000 years in this land but we Turks we never mention about the expression of "Byzantion Occupation" or "Roman Occupation" because many civilisations use to live in the lands that I live now."Occupation" is an activity which can be realized only by "Turks" Is that clear OK ?
    The contradiction of the city is that an old "blody tower"(Kanli Kule)is the symbol of this beautiful city .I think that the lovely and friendly people of Tselloniki deserve much better appreciation.To paint in white doesnt help too much .

    white tower
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  • GeoDenia's Profile Photo

    The symbol of the city

    by GeoDenia Written Jun 17, 2006

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    The White Tower of Thessaloniki is a monument and museum on the waterfront of the city of Thessaloniki.
    The Tower was for centuries part of the walls of the old city of Thessaloniki and separated the Jewish quarter of the city from the cemetaries of the Muslims and Jews. The city walls were demolished in 1866. When Thessaloniki was captured by the Greeks during the Balkan War of 1912, the tower was whitewashed as a symbolic gesture of cleansing, and acquired its present name. King George I of Greece was assassinated not far from the White Tower in March 1913.
    The Tower is now a buff colour but has retained the name White Tower. It now stands on Thessaloniki's waterfront boulevard, Nikis (Victory) Street. It houses a Byzantine museum and is one of the city's leading tourist attractions. The Tower is under the administation of the Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities of the Greek Ministry of Culture.

    The White Tower of Thessaloniki
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  • viddra's Profile Photo

    The Famous Tower

    by viddra Updated Sep 3, 2005

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    This famous tower from the 15th century is in fact the symbol of the city. It was part of the city walls.

    There's a museum inside where you can find a lot about the history of the place. And, if you go to its top, you can enjoy a wonderful view over the city.

    At the time of the Turks, it used to be called Kanli-Kule (Tower of Blood). The Turks slaughtered a lot of people here. But in 1860s, when peace returned to the city, the Tower was white-washed and renamed White Tower.

    the tower White Tower
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  • say-no-more's Profile Photo

    the white tower

    by say-no-more Updated Jul 2, 2005

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    the white tower is one of those things in a city that you use for orientation. it can be seen from a lot of places in thessaloniki and if you see it you know the exact direction you have to go in.
    and once you get inside (the entrance is free for students, if i remeber correctly), that climb to the top just amazes you. it has a bunch of tiny windows all around it (we acutally counted them all, i think it was about 70 windows), through witch you can see the sea from one side, the city rush or people sitting in all those bars along the seaside from the other sides.

    the white tower
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    I suppose you should see it.

    by planxty Written May 29, 2005

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    My Greek friends, before we went to thessaloniki, had been waxing lyrical about the White Tower. When we went there, it was shut , although whether this was due to the lateness of the day (1530 hours) or the Easter holidays, I'm not sure. Obviously, not having been inside, I was somewhat disappointed by it on the outside. It was hardly the massive, impsoing structure i had been led to believe it would be.

    Additionally, there is a semi-derelict pulbic convenience beside it which, apart from smelling absolutely foul, is obviously a health hazard!

    Perhaps I am misjudging the place not having gone to the top of it, but go yourself and make up your own mind.

    White Tower, Thessaloniki, Greece.
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  • DrexelDragon's Profile Photo

    The White Tower

    by DrexelDragon Written Nov 20, 2004

    I had read in my guide book and previous information I looked up that I would be able to enter. But, the several times I've gone there, there's been no entrance. Maybe it has closed for good. Once you find it, you walk 360 deg around, and that's it. Then it's, "Okay, what now?" It's something to see at least, and the promenade along the water where it's located is a good scene for people watching - watch your wallet as well.

    Impressive, but for me...anti-climactic.
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  • goga4444's Profile Photo

    The White Tower

    by goga4444 Updated May 21, 2004

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    the Tower was builded not long after the Ottoman conquest (1430), most likely it was builded by Venetian craftsmen.It was the place where tortures and executions were done (the "Bastille" of Thessaloniki).

    In 1883, the Tower was painted white. (LOL no wonder it is called The White Tower ) and it become a prison for a while ...

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  • Aggeliki's Profile Photo

    White Tower, the symbol of the city

    by Aggeliki Written Dec 16, 2003

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    The White Tower, once known as the Bloody Tower, is the most most famous landmark of the city. It was constructed in the 15th century as a defensive bulwark, an infamous prison, a place of execution, and now is home to a wonderful collection of sculptures, frescos, and other interesting artefacts from 300 to 1400 AD portraying the amazing history and culture of the city.

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Comments (1)

  • MATALON's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    I would be happy to read some practical information about the white tower
    such as only stairs ??? opening hours etc
    thanks
    Matalon

    • maria-thessaloniki's Profile Photo
      Jun 14, 2013 at 7:04 AM

      Hello Matalon!
      The Museum of White Tower is open Tuesday to Sunday from 08:00-15:00.
      There are only stairs, so people with disabilities can virtually tour the museum on the ground floor.
      The space is rather limited and there can be up to 70 people at the same time in the Tower maximum. You should also know that, due to the space issue, there is no toilet space, or a place to leave your coat or your luggage.
      Apart from that, the exhibitions are interesting and the Tower itself, so it is worth the visit.

    • MATALON's Profile Photo
      Jun 14, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Thank you Maria
      We were in Thessaloniki last May and we saw the tower and the parc.
      We had no time to visit inside unfortunately.
      The city is very nice and we enjoy our vacation.
      Thanks again
      Matalon

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