Πώς πήρε το όνομά του ο Λευκός Πύργος

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Οχυρό του 15ου αιώνα, ο Λευκός Πύργος στέκεται αγέρωχος στην παραλία της Θεσσαλονίκης και αποτελεί το κατεξοχήν σύμβολο της πόλης. Το θαλάσσιο τμήμα του τείχους, που κατεδαφίστηκε το 1867, είχε τρεις πύργους, από τους οποίους ο ανατολικός ήταν ο Λευκός Πύργος, χτισμένος ακριβώς στο σημείο όπου συναντιόταν το ανατολικό με το θαλάσσιο τείχος.

Το όνομα

Στη μακρά ιστορία του, ο πύργος έχει αλλάξει αρκετές φορές ονόματα και χρήσεις. Αρχικά ονομαζόταν “Πύργος του Λέοντος”, όπως αναφέρει τουρκική επιγραφή του 1535-1536, η οποία υπήρχε στην είσοδό του εξωτερικού περιβόλου (τώρα κατεδαφισμένος) και η οποία μάλλον αναφερόταν στη χρονολογία κατασκευής του περιβόλου.

Από τον 17ο αιώνα αναφέρεται ως ”Φρούριο της Καλαμαριάς”, ενώ το 19ο αιώνα ως ”Πύργος των Γενιτσάρων” και ”Πύργος του Αίματος”. Μετά την διάλυση του τάγματος των Γενίτσαρων το 1826 αποκτά το όνομα Kanli-Kule, δηλαδή Πύργος του Αίματος λόγω των σφαγών των Γενιτσάρων.

Το όνομα διατηρείται και μετά το 1826 λόγω της λειτουργίας του ως φυλακή μελλοθανάτων και τόπο βασανιστηρίων, οι οποίοι συχνά εκτελούνταν από τους Γενιτσάρους γεμίζοντας με αίμα τους τοίχους. Το σύγχρονο όνομά του το πήρε όταν ένας Εβραίος κατάδικος, ο Nathan Guidili, τον ασβέστωσε με αντάλλαγμα την ελευθερία του, το 1891. Μέχρι το 1912 ο χριστιανικός πληθυσμός συνέχιζε να τον αναφέρει Kanli-Kule, ενώ ο εβραϊκός υιοθετούσε το Torre Blanca, ομοίως με τους Τούρκους, που τον ονόμαζαν Beyaz-Kule, δηλαδή Λευκός Πύργος.

Ο πύργος είναι κυλινδρικός με ύψος 33,90 μ. και διάμετρο 22,70 μ. Έχει ισόγειο και έξι ορόφους, που επικοινωνούν με εσωτερικό κλιμακοστάσιο μήκους 120 μ., το οποίο ελίσσεται κοχλιωτά σε επαφή με τον εξωτερικό τοίχο, αφήνοντας στο κέντρο έναν κυκλικό πυρήνα διαμέτρου 8,50 μ.

Έτσι, σε κάθε όροφο σχηματίζεται μια κεντρική κυκλική αίθουσα, με την οποία επικοινωνούν μικρότερα τετράπλευρα δωμάτια, ανοιγμένα στο πάχος του εξωτερικού τοίχου. Ο τελευταίος όροφος έχει μόνο την κεντρική αίθουσα και έξω από αυτήν δημιουργείται δώμα, που προσφέρει εξαιρετική θέα του γύρω τοπίου της πόλης και της θάλασσας. Όπως αναφέρουν ιστορικές μαρτυρίες, αλλά και η εσωτερική διαρρύθμιση των χώρων, η ύπαρξη τζακιών, καπναγωγών και μικρών αφοδευτηρίων με αποχετευτικό σύστημα, ο πύργος δεν είχε μόνο αμυντική χρήση, αλλά ήταν και στρατιωτικό κατάλυμα.

Μέχρι τις αρχές του 20ού αιώνα ο πύργος περιβαλλόταν από χαμηλό οκταγωνικό περίβολο, ενισχυμένο με οκταγωνικούς πυργίσκους στις τρεις γωνίες του. Στο εσωτερικό του υπήρχαν ένα δερβισικό ησυχαστήριο, πυριτιδαποθήκες και δεξαμενή νερού.

Το τρόπαιο από το  ”Φετίχ Μπουλέν”

Το 1912 μετά την απελευθέρωση της Θεσσαλονίκης, υψώθηκε η ελληνική σημαία στην κορυφή του Λευκού Πύργου με ιστό το κεντρικό κατάρτι, λάφυρο-τρόπαιο από το βυθισμένο στον Θερμαϊκό, από το τορπιλλοβόλο Τ-11 του Νικολάου Βότση, τουρκικό θωρηκτό “Φετίχ-Μπουλέν”.

Το Ναυτικό, λόγω της καίριας θέσης της Θεσσαλονίκης και του Λευκού Πύργου, εγκατέστησε σταθμό ασυρμάτου τύπου σπινθήρα (spark transmitter) με κεραία τον ιστό της σημαίας του Λευκού Πύργου. Κατά τον Α’ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο, ο Λευκός Πύργος στέγαζε το κέντρο διαβιβάσεων των Συμμάχων, ενώ το 1916 χρησιμοποίησαν έναν όροφό του για τη φύλαξη αρχαιοτήτων από αρχαιολογικές εργασίες στη ζώνη ευθύνης του βρετανικού εκστρατευτικού σώματος.

Εργαστήριο Μετεωρολογίας

Μετά την απελευθέρωση της Θεσσαλονίκης το 1912, το μνημείο περιήλθε στο ελληνικό δημόσιο και έως το 1983 φιλοξένησε την αεράμυνα της πόλης, το εργαστήριο Μετεωρολογίας του Πανεπιστημίου και συστήματα Ναυτοπροσκόπων.

Στις 25 Μαρτίου του 1927 ο πρωτοπόρος της Ελληνικής & της Βαλκανικής Ραδιοφωνίας Χρίστος Τσιγγιρίδης (1877-1947) κάνει την πρώτη του ραδιοφωνική εκπομπή με την κεραία του Ναυτικού. Το 1983-1985 έγινε από την 9η Εφορεία Βυζαντινών Αρχαιοτήτων η αναστήλωση του μνημείου και η μετατροπή του σε εκθεσιακό χώρο.

Με την ευκαιρία του εορτασμού των 2.300 χρόνων από την ίδρυση της Θεσσαλονίκης, στέγασε την έκθεση ”Θεσσαλονίκη – Ιστορία και Τέχνη”, ενώ το 2001 την περιοδική έκθεση ”Ώρες Βυζαντίου – Καθημερινή ζωή στο Βυζάντιο”. Το Σεπτέμβριο του 2008 εγκαινιάστηκε η νέα μόνιμη έκθεση που αφορά την ιστορία της Θεσσαλονίκης από την ίδρυσή της μέχρι και τις μέρες μας.

Ο Λευκός Πύργος ανήκει διοικητικά στο Μουσείο Βυζαντινού Πολιτισμού και από το 2006 λειτουργεί μόνιμα ως Μουσείο Πόλης της Θεσσαλονίκης.

 

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