Thermaic Gulf, Thessaloniki

Our trip to Thessaloniki was badly timed. We reached the city after a long drive from Athens after 4 in the evening when almost all the places of sight seeing, the churches had shut down for the day. Winter timings are like that! We did the walking tour of Thessaloniki on our own with the help of the map provided by the hotel we stayed in. The sights to see are situated so close to one another that you can see them all in one day. The city is pleasantly walkable. This is very much possible in summers. Due to short ‘open’ timings of winter we had to skip visiting some of them. The ones that went out of the list were the museums. Thankfully certain sights are out in the open, free for all to see.

One from that list is the White Tower. It stands mutely by the seaside with plenty of coffee joints around it. To reach it we had to cross a sea of vehicles first. Thessaloniki may be the second biggest city of Greece but the roads aren’t that wide. It looked as if modernity set into the old town very fast much before it could expand to accommodate the rush of tourists and its residents. Cars are parked on both sides of roads which are one way roads. There is no traffic congestion but it is slow moving traffic. We were on foot so no worries of traffic. The best part is there a lot of cafes to refuel yourself.

The 15th century White Tower is the hallmark of the city. It was built by Ottoman ruler Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Like every historical monument this tower too has a story, only it is a bit gory.

The White Tower was used as a garrison to house the Janissaries. (The Janissaries were made from captured Christian children from the Balkans. They were brought to Edirne, converted to Islam and became the private property of the Sultan to use as his personal fighting machine.) In 1826 the ruling Sultan Mahmud II abolished this elite unit in what came to be known as the “Auspicous incident”. They had become nothing but useless extortionists and the Ottoman Empire was rapidly heading into decline. The captured Janissaries were then placed in the White Tower where they faced execution. Hence the locals coined the name – The Bloody Tower. In 1890 the last emperor of the Ottoman Empire – Sultan Abdul Hamid, had the tower whitewashed to finally bury the tower’s reputation as the Tower of Blood. A Jewish prisoner by the name of Nathan Guidili single handedly painted the tower white in exchange for his freedom. Since then the tower became known as The White Tower. 

Thessaloniki is famous for ultra chic shopping, active night life, parties, concerts, art shows and many cultural events. Unfortunately we couldn’t indulge in any of these. The only consolation is we had good dinner at a taverna and good seaside walk! The beach was a stretch of concrete. There were no huge crashing waves. That is due to the beach’s configuration which is actually a gulf. People, who included local residents and tourists, loitered around lazily, the vendors doing their business; we didn’t realize how quickly the time passed here. The sun hid behind the dark clouds and slipped into sea with no proper good bye to us, but I managed to capture the moon. Some consolation there!

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SkyWatch Friday

 SkyWatch Friday

SkyWatch Friday
Roman Agora, Thessaloniki
The Chandelier in Agia Sophia, Thessaloniki

27 Responses to “Thermaic Gulf, Thessaloniki

  • the tower has some harsh history but looks pretty!

  • Oh, such beautiful captures of such an awesome place, Indrani!! As you know by now, I do love Greece – every part of it!! Your photos are the next best thing to being there again!! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Amazing photos, Nice to read your post.

  • Interesting. I love the back story on the tower. The seaside looks jammed up with condos.

    I love your photos.

  • An impressive shot of that history-filled tower!

  • Thank you. Your post gives a feeling of visiting these places without any cost.

  • Lovely images, Indrani! I really would love to visit Greece. The tower and the coastal city are pretty. I love the ship lit up while cruising.. Great captures.. Have a happy weekend!

  • Hello Indrani!!
    Great post!!Thessalonika is a very interesting place to visit!I have many blogging friends from there!Wonderful pictures from the White Tower and the views from the gulf!And i wish that my best friend Eileen will visit Greece,one day!
    Have a lovely weekend!
    Dimi…

  • a beautiful waterfront.

  • Interesting story of the white tower and breathtaking images from the waterfront !

  • I LOVE the second to last shot with the sliver of a moon. Stunning!!

  • a lovely beach, or it could have been. All those hotels too close. IMO.

  • I wasn't aware of the bloody history behind the White Tower. I'm sorry many of the places you wanted to visit were closed, but you got some great photos from the shore of the gulf.

  • Beautiful shots for skywatch.

  • Impressive tower, so was its history and transformation from red to white! Interesting beachfront without the usual sands… Fantastic clicks

  • A great series! Wonderful sceneries and skies!

  • A beautiful series of infotainment and pictures it is Indrani.. Thanks for it 🙂 Though it is the Tower Of Blood, it looks pretty with the flag on it ..The lighted boat is looking straight out from a Fairy tale !

  • Such compelling story and captivating pictures !!!

  • A very Interesting Article…. You presented it so well thru' nice Photos!

  • It is sad when something so beautiful as the White Tower was used for keeping captives and slaves. Another reminder that all beautiful things may have bitter memories behind it.

    Very nice shots Indrani di, loved reading the write on this Greek city.

  • You might have missed the museums but you didn't miss a beautiful evening there. The pictures show what a beautiful place that it.

    The White Tower looks impressive, even though there's some dark history there.

  • Awesome pics and well written!!

  • The history which you have mentioned about White Tower in Thessaloniki: shows how the force was used in those days for conversion/labour/execution, bloody history.
    Seaside photos looks great especially the one with hotels at right side…

  • Good post Indrani, detailing the modern and the ancient. Most of these towers have some bloody history associated with them, which is kind of hard to shake off even after ages.

  • The white tower looks majestic!

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