What Big Ben is to London, and the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, the 16th-century White Tower is to Thessaloniki. It is the city's most famous landmark, although the tower is no longer white; a 1985 restoration (as part of the celebrations of the 2,300th anniversary of Thessaloniki's founding) removed its whitewash. Due to ongoing restoration, the tower is sometimes closed, but it is well worth seeing up close even if only from outside. The tower, first built as part of the city's defense walls, then became an Ottoman prison and place of execution (when it was known as the Bloody Tower). Today, several floors house the Museum of the History and Art of Thessaloniki; the artifacts within give an idea of life here through the centuries. That said, the most fun here comes from climbing the steep winding staircase that takes you up six floors and leads to terrific views of the city and harbor. Each floor has a round room with alcoves, some of which were once prison cells. At the top of the staircase, a cafe on the roof rewards you for the climb. Allow an hour here.