May 19: Pontic Evzones on Syntagma

Soldiers of the guard of honor, keeping watch on Syntagma Square in front of the Greek government building, today were dressed in traditional costumes of the Greeks of Pontus.

Today, May 19, is the 103rd anniversary of the memory of the victims of the Greek genocide of Pontus, which was officially recognized in 1994 by the Greek Parliament.

The genocide of the Pontic Greeks (Greek: Γενοκτονία των Ελλήνων του Πόντου,) is a deliberate physical destruction of the indigenous population of historical Pontus, carried out by the government of the Young Turks and continued by the Kemalists in the period 1914-1923 in the Ottoman Empire.

Today, many people were present at the monument to the Unknown Soldier on Syntagma Square, who caught the spectacular changing of the guard to the sounds of the Pontic lyre. Passers-by greeted with applause the assumption of the post of “Pontic Evzones”*.

Evzones (Greek εύζωνες ή εύζωνοι “well-belted”, from ευ- + ζώνη “belt”) is an elite unit of the Greek army that originally emerged as light infantry during the Greek War of Independence at the beginning of the 19th century. Evzonov formed mainly from mountaineers. From 1833 they became part of the regular army, from 1940 they served in light infantry units and in the royal guard.

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