Athens welcomes 62 new Smart Signs to salute the Foreign Heroes of the Greek Revolution
Strolling the storied streets of Athens has always been a remarkable history lesson.
Now, the street signs themselves are literally loaded with illuminating insights into the origins of modern Athens.
“Walking with the Philhellenes” - a brand new addition to the cityscape of Athens - showcases the fêted foreigners who helped secure Greece’s independence from centuries of Ottoman rule.
In a bid to ennoble those great Grecophiles who contributed valiantly to the success of the Greek Revolution two centuries ago, the City of Athens has mounted 62 new smart signs on streets that are named after 29 key personalities of the Philhellenic Movement.
“Walking with the Philhellenes” celebrates the invaluable contributions of these noted foreigners from various countries (Italy, France, America, Germany, Britain and Russia, among others) who left their mark on Modern Greek History by expressing their love for Greece through moral or material support.
Among the notable foreigners whose names grace street signs across downtown Athens are Hamilton, Santarosa, Webster, Treiber, Lord Byron, Lenormant, Heiden and Meyer. The new smart signs display portraits of the Philhellenes and detailed historical references (in Greek and English); allowing visitors and citizens to get better acquainted with these leading lights of the Philhellenic Movement and deepen their grasp of Greece’s modern chapter. The sign texts were created by a team of historians, architects and journalists in alliance with the ELLINIKI ETAIRIA (Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage).
Next time you’re visiting us, keep your eyes peeled for these much loved “honorary Greeks” and have your smart phone at the ready to scan their QR codes so that you can read up on all their heroic tales.
At the street sign unveiling ceremony, held (appropriately) in Philhellenes Street in early February, Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis, said Greece “owed a great deal” to the Philhellenic Movement, in which some 1200 volunteers from 14 countries came to fight on our battlefields (and of those, 400 lost their lives for our nation's freedom).
“This unprecedented, concrete expression of solidarity vis-à-vis the Greeks fighting for their freedom often reached the point of self-sacrifice and became a moral duty which spread across the fields of art, music and literature, regardless of political tendencies and social strata: from the King of Bavaria to the African-American Marine James Jakob Williams,” said Bakoyannis.
“It is therefore very important for us to get to know them, to follow in their steps with our mind’s eye and to re-acquaint ourselves with our past by exploring our city.”
Curious to hear more about these destiny-shaping foreigners? Head here to read up on the tidal wave of international support extended to Greece - and listen to snappy podcasts on the likes of Lord Byron and Daniel Webster.