The Armenian image of Egypt
the First considerable wave of the Armenian migrants came to Egypt during board Fatimidov. Thousands of Armenian families, having left Armenia, Syria, Palestine, lodged in Egypt during devastating attacks of seldzhuk. Armenians, having received religious freedom, took the significant place in economic and cultural life of the country. As researchers write, in a certain period of time an administrative resource Fatimidov consisted of Christians. The conservative management of the Christian churches which fitted into so-called “fatimidsky establishment“ created all conditions for Christian immigrants, that number for Armenians.
In the period of Mamelukes Armenians continued to move to Egypt, but already violently. After approach to the Armenian Cilicia thousands of young Armenians were taken away in captivity. They were islamized, then, like the Turkish Janissars, involved in military formations. Many of these islamized Armenians held high positions in the Egyptian army of that time subsequently.
In 1805 - 1849 there was a new wave of migration of Armenians. This time migration was encouraged by Muhammad Ali - the pasha (1769 - 1849) - hediv Egypt. The Egyptian pasha needed loyal and active ethnic groups. The governor of Egypt treated Christians kindly and moved them from different regions of the Middle East. At it Armenians acquired the right to build churches, to develop economy and a banking system of Egypt. It is known that the Armenian banker Pogos Yusufyan held high positions at Muhammad Ali.
But, perhaps, the most mass migration of Armenians to Egypt occurred during genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. The first flows of the Armenian refugees appeared in April, 1915. The well-founded and active community of Armenians of Egypt in every possible way helped compatriots. Collection points for refugees in the cities of Cairo and Alexandria were created. Christian quarter of Cairo - Geliopolis inhabited by mainly local Greeks and the Syrian Catholics became an enclave of refugees. Their number increased also after 1921 when Turks began a mass slaughter of Greeks and Armenians already in the western part Anatoly. In 19211931 18. 000 Greeks and Armenians found a shelter in Egypt. It were generally refugees - natives of Smyrna, Bursa, Nikomediya. Many Armenian families moved to Western Europe, America and to the Soviet Armenia subsequently. Therefore there are inconsistent data on the number of the Armenian refugees who moved to Egypt. It is known only that even after mass departure of Armenians after 1940 the number of the Armenian population made 40 of Egypt. 000 people. However after revolution of 1952 and coming to power of the president A. Nasser Armenians began to leave Egypt, moving generally to Western Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia. This tendency proceeded up to 1956.
As researchers, despite sharp reduction of the Armenian population note, the country nevertheless remained one of the most important and active centers of the Armenian culture of the Middle East.
Armenians played an essential role in all spheres of life of Egypt. They created the centers of culture and education, using the financial capital, developed infrastructure of the country.
The first Armenian religious school opened in Egypt in Ben - al - Sureyne in 1828 (religious school Egiazaryan). In 1904 the leader of the Armenian community and politician Nubar Pasch founded the Armenian school Galustyan who still is one of the most important national educational centers of Egypt. The second Armenian school was founded in 1890 in Alexandria by the millionaire Pogos Yusefyan. The third school appeared in Christian quarter of Cairo - Geliopolis in 1925 on Pogos Nubar`s money.
Nowadays in Egypt 6 Armenian prestigious schools which graduates without examinations go to the universities of Egypt work.
Besides schools in Egypt work sports, cultural and socially - the political centers of Armenians. In Cairo and Alexandria there are offices of traditional Armenian parties. Only in Cairo is available 3 sports and culturally - educational the center, and in Alexandria 2 such institutions.
Most of Armenians - members of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Armenian churches are available in Cairo and Alexandria. In Cairo the Armenian Catholic Patriarchy is also located. In the same place the Armenian Catholic Church (the Saint church of Theresa) works.
More than 300 Armenian families enter the commonwealth of Evangelic Churches of Egypt.
Among outstanding Armenians of Egypt there are names of governors, military and cultural figures. Outstanding figures not only the Armenian community, but also Egypt in general were also the prime minister - the minister of Egypt Nubar Pasch, Pogos Nubar - the founder of General Armenian charity foundation, Yaqub Artin of Pasch - the former Minister of Finance of Egypt, Akop Yusufyan - the Egyptian millionaire and the founder of the Yacoubian Building company, the actress Noniya Kupelyan, the famous Egyptian composer Fuad Al - Zayeri and many others.
Also former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros - Ghali has the Armenian roots (was born in the Copt - the Armenian family).
In Egypt there were born or lived the film director Atom Egoyan, the opera singer Goar Gasparyan, the artist to Garz (Garnik Zulumyan) and others.
Nowadays the number of Armenians in Egypt does not exceed 6000, according to other data - 11. 000 people. Most of the Armenian population is concentrated in Cairo, in Christian areas Eliopolis, the Knife, Maadi, Elvan, and also Beyn - el Sureyn, Darbel Ganeyn. By separate community in Egypt it is possible to consider members armyano - the Coptic mixed families which except Cairo and Alexandria live in Luxor, Aswan, and also in the cities of Suez and Port - Said. This part of Armenians generally araboyazychna. In general history and genesis of this group of Egypt are badly studied and demand more detailed research in scientific community.
For the last 20 years migratory moods mentioned as well the Egyptian Armenian community. The USA, Canada, Australia - here the countries where Armenians from Egypt where they are also waited by assimilation in English - the Saxon environment move. And as researchers note, migration became the reason that Armenians could not be presented on a political field of Egypt though for this purpose there were all prerequisites in due time: Armenian capital and personnel resources. Now Armenians of Egypt are waited, perhaps, by a fate of our Jordanian compatriots whose number was reduced so sharply that the community does not play any role on the ethnopolitical map of Jordan and Palestine any more.
No. 05 (152) May, 2010.
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