In the waterfront city of Thessaloniki, the capital city of Macedonia, the White Tower of Thessaloniki is a memorial and a museum. A replacement of the old Byzantine fortification that was dominant during the Ottoman Empire is the present wall. The Ottoman Empire restored the old White Tower to fortify the port of the city after Thessaloniki was taken by Sultan Murad II sometime in 1430. The tower served as a notorious jail during the reign of the Ottoman Empire, where mass executions were carried out during Ottoman rule. The White Tower has been greatly remodeled since then. Since Greece took ownership of the city in 1912, the exterior was whitewashed. Since then the monument has been adopted as a significant symbol of the city (Vranikas).
The White Tower in Old Days
During the old times, the Ottomans used the tower as a prison, garrison and a fortress. In the year 1826, Sultan Mahmud II ordered a massacre of the rebellious Janissaries that were imprisoned there. This order owed to countless victims of Ottoman tortures and executions. The tortures and deaths that were conducted in this tower led to it being called _x0093_Red Tower_x0094_ or _x0093_Tower of Blood_x0094_. After the tower was taken from the Ottoman Empire to the Hellenic State during the first Balkan War, it was whitewashed to symbolize cleansing and acquisition of its present name the White Tower_x0093_. Today, this historical building hosts the museum that is dedicated to the Thessaloniki history. It also acts one of the city_x0092_s leading tourist attraction centers (Vranikas).
The White Tower in Modern Days
The new White Tower today is an emblem of Thessaloniki. It is perhaps the most recognizable spot in the center of Macedonia. This building has been depicted on almost all souvenirs and favorite clothes, photographed in many angles and has been imprinted on collective unconscious architectural image. The White Tower has a distinctive cylindrical shape. It is a six-storey building that acts as the city_x0092_s trademark (Mobile Reference).
Today, the highly renovated White Tower is used as an exhibition center. Under the divine roofs of the museum, a permanent exhibition of the Byzantine Culture is always on the display. These exhibitions are dedicated to Thessaloniki and allow the visitors to get acquainted with the knowledge of the successive historical times of this amazing city. The renovation of this monumental structure and the critical themes it hosts is a symbol of deep respect for its significance and architectural style.
Entering the White Tower and the museum it hosts, one can realize the heart of the city. The inside has a presentation of features that are helpful in understanding Thessaloniki. It is helpful in understanding the urban characteristics of the city and its people. The exhibitions mainly focus on the important moments and the essential aspects of the city_x0092_s life (Mobile Reference).
In the present times, major educational programs are conducted in the White Tower. It hosts pupils, students and scholars fro across Greece and all over the world. Such educational programs enable the learners to be acquainted and initiated into the culture of art and world history. The White Tower has a viewing platform at the top of the building. This platform acts as an extension for art exhibition center. Tourists enjoy this refurbished historical building through learning from historical information signs of the city. The White Tower gives tourists a unique journey through historical times and adds value to their visual enjoyment (Vranikas). _x000b_ The geographical position of the White Tower is a t crossroads with land trading roads and the sea. This position acts as an essential parameter for the transformation of urban developments.
The building that was traditionally known for imprisonment and massacre of slaves has been transformed into a beautiful exhibition center hosting important city_x0092_s cultural, economic and spiritual life.
Vranikas, Nikolaos. “Exploring Thessaloniki Through the Exhibition at the White Tower.” Il Futuro Dei Musei Della Città in Europa / a Cura Di Graziano Campanini ; Massimo Negri. (2008): 285-290. Print.
Mobile Reference, Thessaloniki Sights: A Travel Guide to the Top 30 Attractions Thessaloniki, Greece. Boston: Mobile Reference, 2012. Print.