Based on interviews and archive material, Al Jazeera World presents a documentary film on the history of the Greek community of Egypt, from antiquity to modern times, entitled “Egypt: The Other Homeland.”
The two prominent civilizations of ancient Greece and Egypt form a deeper connection between the people of the two countries, something which was evident in the North African country for hundreds of years.
From Herodotus visiting Egypt in the 4th century BC to the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, and from the Ptolemaic dynasty to the suicide of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, the Greek element contributes to Egyptian history until the Roman Empire took over the country.
With a thriving presence in Egypt since the Nasser revolution of 1952, the Greek community of Alexandria was established in 1843, while the one in Cairo was founded in 1856.
The contribution of the Greek population in the financial life of Egypt was very important. The first banks in Egypt were created by Greeks including the Bank of Alexandria, the Anglo-Egyptian bank and the General Bank of Alexandria. Moreover, it was the Greek agriculturists and farmers that first systematically and with scientific planning, have cultivated tobacco and cotton.
There were many Greek theatres and cinemas. Major Greek newspapers were Ta grammata and Nea Zoi. The Greek community in Egypt has produced numerous artists, writers, diplomats and politicians.
The Al Jazeera documentary feature follows several Greeks on their return trips to Egypt.