The city's most famous landmark, and a symbol of Macedonia, the White Tower is the only medieval defensive tower left standing along the seafront (the other remaining tower, the Trigoniou, is in the Upper City). Now a part of the Museum of Byzantine Culture, its six floors offer a wonderful multimedia introduction to the city's history. Much of that history occurred within these walls—for centuries this was a prison—and on its walls: formerly known as "Blood
Tower" it got its current name in 1896 when a convict exchanged his sentence for whitewashing the entire structure (which was removed in a 1980s renovation). The displays teach you that formidable seawalls and intermittent towers encircled the medieval city and were erected in the 15th century on the site of earlier walls. In 1866, with the threat of piracy diminishing and European commerce increasingly imperative, the Ottoman Turks began demolishing them, except for the White Tower. At the top of your climb of 96 steps you are rewarded with a lovely museum café, whose rooftop setting provides sweeping vistas of the city.