The Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 (Greek: Μεγάλη Πυρκαγιά της Θεσσαλονίκης, 1917) was an accidental fire that got out of control and destroyed two thirds of the city of Thessaloniki, second-largest city in Greece, leaving more than 70,000 homeless, majority of them in the Turkish and Jewish quarters of the city. The fire burned for 32 hours and destroyed 9,500 houses within an extent of 1 square kilometer. Half the Jewish population emigrated from the city as their livelihoods were gone. Rather than quickly rebuilding, the government commissioned the French architect Ernest Hébrard to design a new urban plan for the areas of Thessaloniki that were burned and for the future expansion of the city. The designs of Hébrard are still evident in the city, most notably Aristotelous Square, although some of his most grandiose plans were never completed due to a lack of funds.
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... Only a few days after the fire, the Venizelos government announced that it would not allow reconstruction of the city as it was ... was given the lead and founded the "International Committee for the New Plan of Thessaloniki" ...
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“For it is a fire that, kindling its first embers in the narrow nook of a private bosom, caught from a wandering spark out of another private heart, glows and enlarges until it warms and beams upon multitudes of men and women, upon the universal heart of all, and so lights up the whole world and all nature with its generous flames.”
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