Rue elles is a project created by the French association Intercultura in 2015. Balkan Hotspot wants to contribute finding some “rue elles” in Thessaloniki too.
The purpose of this project is to give space to some women that had a fundamental impact on the local, national, European or international stage. To do this, Intercultura is asking people all around Europe to find streets that are named after women that gave their contribution to society. We are talking about the same society that easily and very often is inclined to forget them.
The name “Rue Elles” holds a double meaning. Written like this, it literally means “road she”, but the word “ruelle” all together also means small street, alley. The word play is not accidental, since something else that this project is trying to underline is that, even in little matters like this, women have not reached equality.
There are many stories of women that are unknown all over the world, and very often to them are dedicated narrow streets, forgotten as well. Intercultura is trying to put them in the spotlight again and we, volunteers of Balkan Hotspot, want to help find more streets named after these incredible women in the city of Thessaloniki.
Rue Elles in Thessaloniki
Intercultura already found more than 200 streets named after women around Europe, but also in Türkiye, Morocco, in Serbia, and they keep looking for more. Here are our Rue elles in Thessaloniki:
Alexandra Papadopoulou (Παπαδόπουλου Αλ.)
Papadopoulou Alexandra was a Greek writer, scholar, and educator. She is considered a pioneer as an established woman in a field that, at the time, was male-dominated. Born in Turkey, she worked as a teacher in Istanbul and Thessaloniki. She also founded the Progressive Ladies’ Association. It was a scandal in those days that a young woman without a husband was irreverent enough to organize a progressive association to provide space for women to express themselves.
Natalia Mela (Ναταλία Μελά)
Natalia Mela was a great and distinguished Greek sculptor and granddaughter of Macedonian fighter Pavlos Melas, a Greek hero. In 1946 he received the first Naked & Nude Art Prize, and graduated from A.S.K.T. In March 2011, the Academy of Athens awarded her with the Excellence of Fine Arts for her contribution to Greek sculpture through her “pioneering and expressive work”. A few years ago, during an interview she answered the question: “Do heroes exist today?” saying “Look at all those kids protesting out there. They are heroes to me.”
Queen Olga (Βασιλίσσης Όλγας)
Olga Constantinovna of Russia was Queen of Greece as the wife of King George I. She was briefly the regent of Greece in 1920. Queen Olga became the Mother figure of the entire nation during the years of the Greek-Turkish war. She visited the wounded, made donations for the families of the soldiers fighting in Crete and helped to harvest the donations of other wealthy Greeks. Thus began her involvement in social and charitable work, she started a number of foundations, including hospitals, schools and an orphanage. In an effort to restore the faith of the nation Queen Olga also ordered the translation of the Bible into Modern Greek, to make it more accessible to her citizens.
Ourania (Μπουζιάνη Ουρανίας)
Ourania was one of the nine Mousai (Muses), the goddesses of music, song, and dance. In the Classical era she was named Muse of astronomy and astronomical writings. Urania is often associated with Universal Love. Sometimes identified as the eldest of the divine sisters, Urania inherited Zeus’ majesty and power and the beauty and grace of her mother Mnemosyne.
In Greek mythology, Clio (Κλειώ), also spelled Kleio, is the muse of history, or in a few mythological accounts, the muse of lyre playing. She was one of the nine Mousai (Muses), considered the proclaimer, glorifier and celebrator of history, great deeds and accomplishments.
Terpsichore was one of the nine Mousai (Muses), the goddesses of music, song and dance. Terpsikhore was named Muse of choral song and dancing, and depicted with a lyre and plectrum. Her name means “Delighting in Dance” from the Greek words terpsis “to delight” and khoros “dance”.
In Greek mythology, Calliope is the Muse who presides over eloquence and epic poetry. She got her name from the ecstatic harmony of her voice. Hesiod and Ovid called her the “Chief of all Muses”. According to Hesiod, she was also the wisest of the Muses, as well as the most assertive.