Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Symbol Of Thessaloniki

The symbol of the second largest Greek city is of course the White Tower, situated at the waterfront boulevard of Thessaloniki. The Tower dates from the period of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1560-1566). It was then built as part of a fortification project for the Macedonian city, on the site of another tower, that was most probably constructed by French knights, after the Crusaders conquered Constantinople (1204 A.D.) during the fourth Crusade.

It has changed names during its long history, known as the Kalamaria Fortress. It was later renamed, during the 19th century, as the Tower of Blood or the Red Tower, due to the fact that the Sultan Mahmud II ordered a massacre of the prisoners who were kept in the tower. 
After, being liberated by the Ottoman Rule, 1912, the tower was whitewashed as a symbolic gesture of purification, hence its present name. Despite not being, currently white, it maintains its name. 

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