Thessaloniki’s emblematic White Tower has stood on the waterfront since the 15th century. It has served different purposes over the years, and changed its name as often as its function. It was the southeast bastion of the city’s fortifications, and an infamous Ottoman prison. It has been known as the Lion Tower, the Kalamaria Bastion, the Janissary Tower and the Tower of Blood. Until 1891 it was red, some say stained with the blood of those who died there. In that year, however, a Jewish prisoner called Nathan Guidili undertook to paint it white in exchange for his freedom. Thus was born the White Tower, as we know it today.
The Ottoman chapter of its history ended in 1912, when immediately after the Liberation of the city the Greek flag was raised over it; the flagpole it flew from was the mainmast of the Turkish battleship Fetih-i-Bulend, which had been sunk in the Thermaikos by Lt. Nikolaos Votsis.
Urban myths, folk tales and historic events that sound more like legends make up the mosaic of Thessaloniki ’s underground stories. Their heroes lurk in the gaps in official history, for you to discover. I discovered them in the pages of My Time magazine by Exclusive Editions.