Spotlight: Greeks in Egypt

Photo Credit: Rachel Portele

Greeks have been living in Egypt since the ancient times. Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the 5th century BCE, wrote that the Greeks were the first foreigners that ever lived in Egypt. The two main Greek centers in Egypt is Cairo and Alexandria.

In Cairo, the Greek community was founded in 1856, with the community based in three main neighbourhoods: Tzouonia, Haret el Roum (Street of the Greeks), and in Hamzaoui. The patriarchate was based in Haret el Roum, near the church of Saint Marcus. The monastery of Saint George, in Old Cairo still survives. Within its walls there is a Greek hospital, a school and housing for the elderly, and poor.

The Greek community of Alexandria was founded in 1843. In 1907 the official census showed 62,973 Greeks living in Egypt. By 1940 Greeks were numbered at about 250,000. The Greek community in Alexandria lived around the Church and monastery of Agios Savvas.Today there are less than 2000 Greeks in the city.

The Nasser regime was a major disaster for the Greek diaspora which afterwards has dwindled from many thousands to a handful. The dangerous situation in the Middle East has also deteriorated the conditions for the Greeks that stayed back in Egypt.

It is estimated that between 1957 – 1962 almost 70% of the Egyptiot Greeks have left the country.
Recently Egypt has been the centre of major Greek investments in banking, tourism, paper and oil industry and many others.

(WIth information from Wikipedia)