Egyptiotes – that is the term that refers to Greeks living in Egypt. When one thinks of how Egypt and Greece are tied, one of the first things that comes to mind would probably be Alexandria; the famous coastal city that was named after the Greek Alexander the Great after conquering Egypt in 332 BC.
Greek communities in Egypt do indeed go as far back as ancient times. With the neighboring countries being in such close proximity to each other, with just the Mediterranean acting as the separator between them, it only makes sense that there has always historically been a large number or Greeks in Egypt and vice versa. In fact, it is believed that the Greeks were the first group of foreigners to ever live in Egypt.
While Greek communities have always been greatly present in Egypt throughout history, they are not quite as large or felt as they once were. Following the 1952 Egyptian revolution, most foreigners (including Greeks) fled the country and this resulted in a minimization of the once thriving Egyptian Greek (or Egyptiote) community.
That being said, the two countries still have very close ties and the existing Greek community in Egypt does what it can to keep their historic Egyptian Greek heritage alive. One of the most important entities in helping do so is the Greek Cultural Centre in Cairo.
Other than hosting events from time to time, the Centre’s Facebook page is very active as they regularly feed their over 11,000 followers interesting archival material documenting the Greek Egyptian community’s various feats throughout history. The following compilation is merely a few of these archival materials gathered here and there from the centre’s Facebook page.
Most of these documents and photographs originate from the 19th and 20th centuries and they offer insight into just how integrated Egyptiotes were in Egyptian society. They offer a rather interesting perspective into just how linked these two countries have always been, almost blurring the lines between Greece and Egypt to the point of perceiving them as one.
While the number of Greeks living in Egypt is currently at its lowest, the Egyptiote community is a strong and historic one; they are a community that will always take pride in their rich and complex cultural heritage.