White Tower (Lefkos Pyrgos) Tours and Activities
The White Tower (Lefkós Pýrgos) is one of the best-loved buildings in Thessaloniki, a dumpy cylinder topped with turrets that sits at the southern end of the seafront promenade of Nikis Avenue. Thought to have been built on the top of Byzantine remains during the reign of Suleiman I the Magnificent in the mid 15th century, the six-story tower is 40 m (131 ft) high and 23 m (75.5 ft) in diameter, with sturdy stone walls dotted with tiny arrow slits. Originally it formed part of the city’s fortifications and was used by Thessaloniki’s Turkish invaders as a place of public execution. Since then the tower served as a communications center in World War I and later as a meteorological laboratory. Three more towers and a defense wall were knocked down after the fire of 1917, and its current use is as a visitor center with an exhibition detailing the turbulent history of the city. A viewing platform at the top of the tower looks out over the sea in one direction and the rooftops of Thessaloniki to the other.
One of the most popular evening pastimes for Thessaloniki locals is the waterside stroll up Nikis Avenue, starting at the old port and winding up in front of the White Tower.