The Greek state has systematically replaced geographical and topographic names of non-Greek origin with Greek names as part of a policy and ideology of Hellenization. The main objective of the initiative has been to assimilate or hide geographical or topographical names that were deemed foreign and divisive against Greek unity or considered to be "bad Greek". The names that were considered foreign were usually of Turkish, Albanian, and Slavic origin. Most of the name changes occurred in the ethnically heterogeneous northern Greece and the Arvanite settlements in central Greece. Place names of Greek origin were also renamed after names in Classical Greece.
The policy commenced after the independence of Greece from the Ottoman Empire in the early 1830s, after the territorial expanses of Greece and continued into the Greek Republic. To this day use of the old Turkish, Albanian, or Slavic placenames by authorities, organisations, and individuals is penalized under Greek law.
The area that is today Greece was inhabited by various peoples throughout history, and the country's toponyms reflect their diversity of origins. The hellenization of toponyms in Greece started soon after Greek independence, as part of the process of shaping Greek national identity. Many placenames in Greece of non-Greek origin were replaced by "ancient or pseudo ancient names that were supposed (sometimes erroneously) to have some connection to the area". For example, the ancient name of Piraeus was revived in the 19th century, after it had been called Drakos in Greek, Porto Leone in Venetian, and Aslan Limanı in Turkish for centuries, after the Piraeus Lion which stood there.
In 1909, the existence of large numbers of non Greek place names were a nuisance to the government. In 1909 the government-appointed commission on toponyms report that every one village in three in Greece (30% of the total) should have its name changed (of the 5,069 Greek villages, 1,500 were considered as "speaking a barbaric language".
During the Balkan Wars, Greece doubled its territory and population, but it brought various large non-Greek populations into its border. Notably were the Slavic speaking Orthodox, the mostly Turkish-speaking Muslims from Macedonia, the Muslim Albanians, Orthodox Arvanites and Aromanians in Epirus. After the Second Balkan War against Bulgaria in 1913 the majority of Slavic speaking Christians was transferred to Bulgaria as part of a population exchange agreement (Treaty of Neuilly) between the two countries. Moreover, after the end of Graeco-Turkish War and the subsequent Treaty of Lausanne and population exchange between Greece and Turkey, all Muslims except Western Thrace, were exchanged for all Orthodox in Turkey except for those in Istanbul. The villages of the exchanged populations (Bulgarians and Muslims) in Greece were resettled with Greeks from Asia Minor, and the Balkans (mainly from Bulgaria and Yugoslavia). By 1928, Greece's demography had drastically changed from the position in 1830: the country had turned into a nation-state, non-Greeks and most of the population spoke Greek.The Arvanites and Aromanians today proclaim themselves as Greeks. After World War II the remaining Muslim Albanians were expelled due to collaboration activity and war crimes.
After the departure of Slav and Muslim populations in 1912-1926 the Greek government renamed many places with revived ancient names, local Greek-language names, or translations of the non-Greek names and non-Greek names were officially removed. Although the bulk of the population was Greek the renaming was considered a way to establish a collective ethnic consciousness. Several historical Greek names from Asia Minor were also introduced in the region mainly by the resettled refugees. Many Demotic Greek names were also replaced by a Katharevousa Greek form, usually different only morphologically. This process started in 1926 and continued into the 1960s.
The older name forms of the renamed settlements were mainly of Greek, Slavic, Turkish, Vlach or Albanian origin. According to ongoing research being carried out at the Institute of Neohellenic Research in Athens, between 1913 and 1996, the names of 4,413 settlements were legally changed in Greece. In each case, the renamings were recorded in the official Government Gazette. The regional breakdown in renamings is: Macedonia: 1,805 renamings; Peloponnese: 827 renamings; Central Greece: 519 renamings; Thessaly: 487 renamings; Epirus: 454 renamings; Thrace: 98 renamings; Crete: 97 renamings; Aegean Islands: 79 renamings; Ionian Islands: 47 renamings.
Eastern Central Greece was home to the Arvanites, an Albanian speaking people who migrated to the area in the 14th century. Until the 19th century most of Attica and Boeotia was populated by Arvanites, many of the placenames were also Arvanite, after the establishment of Greece in 1830 most of the names have been changed, especially to unused names since antiquity, from Classical Greece.
|Old name||Named changed to:||Notes|
|Liopesi||Paiania||Old name was Arvanitic. Liopesi: 'Place of cows' or 'of the cow'. From the Albanian word lopë or cow and the suffix ës indicating belonging to a place, object or quantity of something.|
|Menidi||Acharnes||Old name was Arvanitic|
|Kriekouki||Erythres||Old name was Arvanitic. Kriekouki: 'Red Head'. From the Albanian word Krye/Krie (in some dialects) meaning 'head' and Kuq or red.|
|Dervenosalesi||Pyli, Boeotia||Old name was Arvanite . Dervenosalesi: 'The thigh mountain pass'. From the word Derven meaning 'mountain pass' (itself a local borrowing of the Persian word 'Dervend' meaning the same thing) and Shalës or 'thigh', due to the narrowness of the area resembling the length or shape of a thigh.|
Epirus had a Greek majority population before annexation to Greece (1913), with minorities of Aromanians and Albanians. A part of the Albanian minority, known as Cham Albanians, resided in the coastal area and were expelled from the area after World War II by the EDES resistance group. An unknown number of Aromanians and Orthodox Albanians, in some sources called Arvanites, still live in the area, who today identify mostly as Greek. Since the early 20th-century Albanian place names of Epirus have been systematically changed to Greek, thereby erasing the former Albanian presence in the landscape.
|Old name||Named changed to:||Notes|
|Densko, Denicko||Aetomilitsa||Old name was in Aromanian|
|Briaza||Distrato||Old name was in Aromanian|
|Skéferi||Myloi||Old name was in Albanian. Skéferi: 'Saint Stephen'. From the Albanian word for saint shën in its contracted form sh/ë used in the toponym and the Albanian forms Stefani/Shtjefni for the name Stephen which became contracted in the toponym.|
|Soúvliasi||Agios Vlasios||Old name was in Albanian. Soúvliasi: 'Saint Blaise'. From the Albanian word for saint shën in its contracted form sh/ë used in the toponym and the Albanian form Vlash for the name 'Blaise' which became contracted in the toponym.|
|Liogáti||Agora||Old name was in Albanian. Liogáti: 'ghost'. From the Albanian word Lugat for 'ghost' or 'ghoul'.|
|Ríziani||Agios Georgios||Old name was in Albanian. Ríziani: 'at the feet of the side (of the mountain)'. From the Albanian word rrëzë for 'feet' or 'alongside' and the Albanian word anë for 'side' or 'edge', due to the settlement being located close to the edge of a mountain.|
|Várfani||Parapotamos||Old name was in Albanian. Várfani: 'poor place'. From the Albanian word varfër/vorfën for 'poor'.|
|Goúrza||Ano Paliokklision||Old name was in Albanian. Goúrza: 'a place where a shallow channel cut in the surface of soil or rocks by running water'. From the Albanian word gurrë for 'source' or 'rill' and the Albanian suffix ëz/za/zë denoting 'smallness'.|
|Liópsi||Asprokklision||Old name was in Albanian. Liópsi: 'place of cows' or 'of the cow'. From the Albanian word lopë for cow and the suffix ës indicating belonging to a place, object or quantity of something.|
|Likoúrsi||Mesopotamo||Old name was in Albanian. Likoúrsi: 'place of flaying animal hides or skinners'. From the Albanian word lëkurë for 'skin' and the suffix ës indicating belonging to a place, object or quantity of something.|
|Rápeza||Anthousa||Old name was in Albanian. Rápeza: 'place of small plane trees'. From the Albanian word rrap for 'plane tree' and the Albanian suffix ëz/za/zë denoting 'smallness'.|
|Skémbo||Vrachos||Old name was in Albanian. Skémbo: 'place of boulders, a rocky crag or a cliff'. From the Albanian word shkëmb for 'cliff, rock or peak', due to the settlement being located on the coast on hilly terrain.|
|Riniása||Riza||Old name was in Albanian. Riniása: 'rooted place'. From the Albanian word rrënjë for 'root' and the suffix as/ë indicating belonging to a place, object or quantity of something, due to the settlement being located on the coast on hilly terrain.|
|Boulmét Zervó||Galata||Old name was in Albanian. Boulmét: 'dairy'. From the Albanian word bulmet for 'dairy'. The name Zervó was attached to the settlement for administrative purposes and is the name of a nearby village.|
|Dára||Elia||Old name was in Albanian. Dára: 'place resembling a pincer or tong form'. From the Albanian word darë for 'pincer' or 'tongs', due to the settlement being in a valley and mountainous area.|
|Barkmádhi||Kastritsa||Old name was in Albanian. Barkmádhi: 'place resembling a big stomach'. From the Albanian word bark for 'stomach' and the Albanian word madh for 'big'.|
|Kourtési||Mesovouni||Old name was in Albanian. Kourtési: 'Kurt's place'. From the Middle Eastern male name Kurd and the suffix ës indicating belonging to a place, object or quantity of something.|
Till 1912, the area had a very heterogeneous population consisting of Slavic, Turkish, Greek, Jews and Wallachian people. Most of the geographical names were of non Greek origin, the Greek government planned to change this. Between 1913 and 1928 the Slavic names of hundreds of villages and towns were Hellenized by a Committee for the Changing of Names, which was charged by the Greek government with "the elimination of all the names which pollute and disfigure the beautiful appearance of our fatherland". Between 1912 (Balkan Wars) and 1928 (after the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey), the non Greek inhabitants were largely gone and instead of them Greek refugees from the Ottoman Empire settled in the area thereby changing its demography.
|Old name||Named changed to:||Notes|
|Dragomesti||Astakos||The old name, used from the Middle Ages, was of Slavic origin. The current name derives from that of an ancient town in Acarnania, and means "lobster" in Greek.|
|Old name||Named changed to:||Notes|
|Gümülcine||Komotini||Gümülcine was the Ottoman version which derives from the older original Byzantine name, Koumoutzina|
|Dedeagaç||Alexandroupolis||Turkish name of Dedeagach remained the official name of the city until 1920 when it was renamed Alexandroupolis in honor of King Alexander of Greece.|
|Sarı Şaban||Chrysoupolis||During the Ottoman era, population was mostly Turkish, the old name was Sari-Saban in Turkish, it was renamed from 1913 till 1929 as Sapaioi, later renamed again.|
the district has remained predominantly Greek
Macedonia and Epirus on the mainland, and Crete, where the population was predominantly Greek, deeply resented Turkish rule, and the desire for union with Greece was strong.
Edessa (Greek: Έδεσσα, Édessa, [ˈeðesa]; until 1923: Vodena (Greek: Βοδενά, Vodená); known as city of waters), is a city in northern Greece and the capital of the Pella regional unit, in the Central Macedonia region of Greece. It was also the capital of the defunct province of the same name.
Edessa holds a special place in the history of the Greek world as, according to some ancient sources, it was here that Caranus established the first capital of ancient Macedon. Later, under the Byzantine Empire, Edessa benefited from its strategic location, controlling the Via Egnatia as it enters the Pindus mountains, and became a center of medieval Greek culture, famed for its strong walls and fortifications. In the modern period, Edessa was one of Greece's industrial centers until the middle of the 20th century, with many textile factories operating in the city and its immediate vicinity. Today however its economy mainly relies on services and tourism. Edessa hosts most of the administrative services of the Pella regional unit, as well as some departments of the Thessaloniki-based University of Macedonia.Lists of renamed places
These are lists of renamed places by country, sorted by continent.Michael Sionidis
Michael Sionidis (Greek: Μιχαήλ Σιωνίδης, romanized: Mihaïl Sionídis or Μιχάλης Σιωνίδης, Mihális Sionídis; 1870–1935) was a Greek leader of makedonomachoi in the Macedonian Struggle.Prontuario dei nomi locali dell'Alto Adige
The Prontuario dei nomi locali dell'Alto Adige (Italian for Reference Work of Place Names of Alto Adige) is a list of Italianized toponyms for mostly German place names in South Tyrol (Alto Adige in Italian) which was published in 1916 by the Royal Italian Geographic Society (Reale Società Geografica Italiana). The list was called the Prontuario in short and later formed an important part of the Italianization campaign initiated by the fascist regime, as it became the basis for the official place and district names in the Italian-annexed southern part of the County of Tyrol.
It has often been criticized by the German-speaking population of the province, on the grounds that the new names often have little perceived historical relevance and that a number have been entirely invented.