Changing names of boulevards and streets is a fairly common practice in Greece. Street names would usually reflect politics of the time, some streets would be named after dictators and royalists only to change names again when a democratic government took power.
The major thoroughfare near my house in Salonica was called "Kennedy Boulevard" back in the days when Greece was friendly to America, and renamed "Alexander the Great Boulevard" when we decided we didn't like Americans so much any more. For a few years after that people would refer to the place by both names and taxi drivers, our wonderful Greek roadmaps-on-wheels, of course knew both.
In 1997, when Salonica was Cultural Capital of Europe, Plateia Eleftherias (Liberty Square) was renamed Plateia Evraion Martyron (Jewish Martyrs' Square) to commemorate the events of July 11, 1942. On that date, the Germans ordered all Jewish males between the ages of 18 and 45 (about 10,000 people) to assemble in the square and forced them to do calisthenics
all day, in the hot summer sun, in order to determine who was fit to be sent to slave labour camps. People who fainted from the heat were shot. It was the begining of the deportation of the Jews of Salonica.
I thought the name change was a wonderful idea, it meant that Salonica was coming to terms with her past
. I read about it while I was in the States so when I went home a few months later I excitedly asked my friends and family what they thought of the name change. They didn't know about it. Neither did the taxi drivers when I would ask. And you know, if the taxi drivers don't know the new name...
Anyway, here's what got me thinking about this subject: White protesters want to keep Pretoria's "Boer" name