The White Tower (Lefkos Pyrghos)
- Type: Castles/Palaces, Museums, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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As one Virtual Tourist puts it, "What the Piazza is to Rome, and the leaning Tower is to Pisa, that is the White Tower to Thessaloniki." Built by the Ottomans sometime after 1430, this former prison and fortress is now a satellite branch of the Museum of Byzantine Culture. Visit for yourself and you'll find that its elegant design offers a brief overview of the town's history. A TripAdvisor user admits, "What impressed me the most was the video of the fire that destroyed Thessaloniki in 1917." Certainly enjoy the exhibits, but also take time to savor the view of Thessaloniki from the top terrace -- a perfect photo op.
This near-perfect attraction does have some major logistical nightmares. Because the infrastructure of the ancient building cannot support modern updates, "The exhibition does not provide air conditioning, toilets for the visitors, cafeteria and cloakroom" reports the museum's website. Additionally, there's no elevator to accommodate travelers with disabilities (there are video monitors on the first floor that provide digital tours). Due to heat restrictions, only 70 people may be in the structure at one point. So, waiting in line to enter is part of the experience.
The White Tower is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is about €4 EUR (or about $5.50 USD). Take a look at its website to preview videos and historical information.