One of the most beautiful parts of Thessaloniki lies in Ano Poli, the city’s Upper Town district. This is the oldest surviving part of Thessaloniki. It served as the Turkish quarter during Ottoman times while the Greeks and Jews lived near the port.
While wandering through the winding streets I found a lot of historic Ottoman homes and buildings and lots of traditional tavernas, especially around the old walls of the acropolis of Thessaloniki. The walls are part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage listing.
The intimidating Eptapyrgion sits at the very top of the hill overlooking the city. The Byzantines built a fortress on the spot that was later used by the Ottomans. It was converted into a prison in 1890 and remained one until 1989. Many famous rebetika songs were written about the prison, and they mention it by it’s Turkish name, Yedi Kule (Γεντί Κουλέ). Its name means “Seven Towers” in both Greek and Turkish although it features 10 towers. It was probably named after Yedikule in Istanbul.
Eptapyrgion had just closed a few minutes before I arrived, so I walked around the perimeter to get a good look at it. I’ll visit on a future trip.