Location: Old Town Ano Poli
The Castle of Thessaloniki, Macedonia: The Castle of Thessaloniki, also known as Heptapyrgion or Yedi Kule, is located on a hill above the Old Town (Ano Poli). Its location gives gorgeous views to the city, the port, and the Aegean Sea.
The Castle of Thessaloniki was built on the spot of the ancient Acropolis, founded by Cassander in 316 B.C. The walls of the castle, that are still visible today, date from the 4th century A.D. when the Byzantine emperor Theodosius I fortified the town. Many buildings and towers were constructed all along the Byzantine period, till the town was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430. A few years later in 1444, the castle was renovated, old buildings were destroyed and more towers were built. In fact, the Castle has ten towers in total, although its name Heptapyrgion means seven towers.
Till the 1890s the Castle was the seat of the garrison commanders and then it was turned into prison till 1989. In fact, this prison was known as a severe place of torture. Many political opponents were lead there during the Metaxas Regime (1936-1941), the Axis Occupation in Greece, the Greek Civil War (1946-1949) and the Regime of the Colonels (1967-1974). In fact, the prisons of Yedi Kule were frequently mentioned in the underground rebetika songs. After the damages that wars, earthquakes and time have caused, the Castle of Thessaloniki is today under restoration but open to visitors.