Plaza Uruguay: The story of an unknown square in the centre of Athens

Plaza uruguay

Isn't it strange to walk in the centre of Athens and all of a sudden you come across a tiny square which is dedicated to a country that is several thousand kilometres away?

Well, this is exactly what is happening with Plaza Uruguay, which, although it is located behind the Milton Hotel at the junction of Hatzigianni Mexi and Michalakopoulou streets, has taken its name from the South American country!

This humble square has two benches and a paved area surrounded by lawn. What stands out, of course, is the bronze statue of José Gervasio Artigas, the general who is considered the father of Uruguayan independence.

Plaza uruguay José Gervasio Artigas athens

The construction of the statue was completed in 1950, but its erection took place only in 2000 after it was given as a gift to the municipality of Athens by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay.

As seen in the inscription placed in the square, it is a donation of the Embassy of Uruguay in Athens and the Consulate of Uruguay in Thessaloniki.

José Gervasio Artigas Arnal (June 19, 1764 – September 23, 1850) was a political leader, military general and statesman who is considered a national hero of Uruguay and the broader Río de la Plata region.

He fought in the Spanish American wars of independence against the Spanish and Portuguese Empires and the centralist government of Buenos Aires in the pursuit of political and civil liberties for the peoples of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata.

Artigas is considered a Libertador of Río de la Plata and a national hero in Uruguay and Argentina, sometimes referred to as "the father of Uruguayan nationhood".

His biggest political project was the creation of the Federal League, a confederation of South American provinces under a federal style of government inspired by the United States.

READ MORE: Uruguay: The country which LOVES Greece more than you know.

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