Greek Plan or Greek Project is an early solution to the Eastern
Question which was advanced by
Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great in the early 1780s.
It envisaged the partition of the
Ottoman Empire between the Russian
and Habsburg Empires followed by the restoration of the Byzantine
Empire centered in Constantinople.
2 Cities named in Greek during this period
3 See also
Like her predecessors, Catherine concerned herself with the Orthodox
Christians under Ottoman rule; she also sponsored the
Orlov Revolt in
Morea during the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774, and invited
many Greeks like
Ioannis Varvakis to settle in Russia, mainly in
Crimea and New Russia. She conceived that one of her grandsons,
appropriately named Constantine, would become the first emperor of the
restored Byzantium. Another important consideration was Russia's goal
of free access to the
Mediterranean Sea through the Bosphorus, which
the Ottomans controlled.
For this plan to succeed, the Great European Powers would need to
agree to it and the Danube powers to cooperate. In May 1780, Catherine
arranged a secret meeting with Joseph II, the Holy Roman Emperor, in
Mogilyov. In a series of letters from September 1781, Catherine and
Joseph discussed their plans to partition the
Ottoman Empire and
restore the Byzantine Empire. The Austro-Russian alliance was
formalized in May 1781.
Greek Plan was masterminded by
Prince Potemkin who gave Greek
names to the newly founded towns in
New Russia (e.g.,
Kherson). Byzantine symbolism was highlighted in new churches such as
Kherson Cathedral. Another meeting of the Russian and Austrian
monarchs was arranged as part of Catherine's Crimean journey of 1787.
Both countries declared war on the
Ottoman Empire later that year.
Joseph's death in 1790, followed by the
Treaty of Jassy
Treaty of Jassy and the Treaty
of Sistova, in which Austria gained little, effectively ended the
Cities named in Greek during this period
Sophia Cathedral in
Tsarskoe Selo was designed as a small-scale
Hagia Sophia in Constantinople
The following major cities got the names styled in Greek during this
period. Some of them were new, others were renamed.
Kherson (1778), after Chersonesus
Eupatoria (1784), from Eupator: Ευ·πατωρ "(of) noble father",
after Mithridates VI of Pontus, whose dominions included Crimea
Mariupol (1780), after Maria Feodorovna
Melitopol (1784, renamed 1842 after
Melita (ancient port city)
Melita (ancient port city) which
existed in the vicinity)
Nikolaev (1789, after St. Nicholas: Νίκη; Níkē, "victory" and
λαός; laós, "people")
Nikopol (renamed so in 1786 after Nike, the goddess of victory)
Ovidiopol (1793) after Ovidius
Tiraspol (1792, renamed 1895, after Tyras (Τύρας) for Dniester)
Odessa (1795, after Odessos, thought to be located in the vicinity)
There was an attempt to rename
Stary Krym into Levkopol (Leukopolis,
"White City"), but the name never gained popularity.
^ "Российские города с греческими
именами", Sevatopolskaya Gazeta, July 20, 2006 (retrieved
August 17, 2014)
Catherine's Russia: Catherine the Great's "Greek Project"
Foundation of the Hellenic World: The Greek pl