On the North side of the popular Aristotelous Plaza right before the Roman Forum (Agora) lies the statue of Eleftherios Venizelos one of the most influential personalities of the modern Greek history.
Having taken some of the most important decisions that affected Greece during the entire 20th century Eleftherios Venizelos played a key role in certain events that turned out to be critical for the city of Thessaloniki.
While he was serving as a Prime Minister Venizelos succeeded in restoring diplomatic relations with Greece’s neighbors and expanded many constitutional reforms. He also made serious efforts in order to modernize the economy, organize the army and establish the country’s diplomatic and geostrategic influence.
After a number of victorious battles in the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) during the First World War (1914–1918) he made serious efforts to bring Greece on the side of the Allies, further expanding the Greek borders into Minor Asia. However, his pro-Allied foreign policy brought him in direct conflict with the monarchy thus causing the National Schism.
The national schism period
The Schism poisoned the national unity and created hatred and vengefulness among the population dividing them into the supporters of King Constantine I and “Venizelists”. The continuous struggle between these two groups seriously affected Greece at a political and social level for decades.
In 1935 Venizelos resurfaced out of retirement to support a military movement against the Greek Government. Its failure severely weakened him and his supporters and Democracy itself. After that he left the country and went to Paris where he lived until his death in 1936.
He was considered a very capable, brilliant in terms of politics man whose actions shaped the Modern Greek History. His monument now stands in one of the most popular plazas of Greece, Aristotelous plaza in the center of the city in a prominent position.