Egyptian Armenians the unforgettable brotherhood

Armenians in Egypt have their language, schools, churches, and social institutions. They are highly educated. The number of Egyptian Armenians is decreasing due to migration to the West and weak return migration to Armenia. Most of them reside in Cairo and Alexandria.

Their migration to Egypt started long before the Armenian Genocide in 1915 as a voluntary migration as they appeared in Ancient Egypt during the Third Pharaonic Dynasty. Then, after being under the role of one controlling body such as Persia, Rome, and the Ottoman Empire, which allowed folks to move between the two countries with no political constraints. In recent history, the Armenian migration to Egypt started at the beginning of the 19th century. The reign of Mohamed Ali (1805–1849).

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Integration, Culture, and Networking

The Armenian community operates two benevolent; the Armenian Red Cross Association, and the Armenian General Benevolent Union, and one cultural association; the Houssaper Cultural Association. The community has four social clubs in Cairo and two in Alexandria, additionally to three sporting clubs in the capital and two in Alexandria. There is one home for the elderly, and lots of activities for young people, including a dance troupe, Zankezour, a choir, Zevartnots, and a child’s choir, Dzaghgasdan.

Armenian artists contributed to the Egyptian art, music, and cinema industry. The Egyptian Armenian Ohan Hagob Justinian (1913–2001) was the first manufacturer of cameras for cinema production and preparation of Cinema studios in Cairo and Alexandria and he was the cameraman of 12 Egyptian movies between 1948 and 1957. Among the well-known and famous movie stars and actresses come Fayrouz (Bayrouz Artin Kalfaian), her sister Nelly, Lebleba (Nonia Kobelian), and Mimi Gamal (Mary Nizar Julian). In the field of Music, Foad Al-Zahery (Foad Grabit Panosian) was one of the most famous Egyptian composers and musicians. He composed the Shadow music for 350 Egyptian movies. Anoushka is a well-known Armenian Egyptian Singer. However, The Armenian Church and the apolitical structure of the Armenian community have a vital role in unifying Armenians in Egypt.

Education and language

The first Armenian school in Egypt, the Yeghiazarian Religious School, was established in 1828 at Bein Al-Sourein. In 1854, it was moved to Darb AlGeneina and its name was changed to Khorenian, after the Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi. In 1904, Boghos Nubar moved it to Boulaq. then In 1907, he founded the Kalousdian Varjaran Armenian School and kindergarten. Today, only one building and a playground remain on Galaa Street (downtown Cairo). The second Armenian school in Egypt was founded in 1890 by Boghos Youssefian in Alexandria. The newest Armenian school is Nubarian in Heliopolis it was founded in 1925 with a donation from Boghos Nubar. The three Armenian schools in Egypt eventually integrate a K-12 program. These schools are partially supported by the Prelacy of the Armenian Church in Egypt.

Armenian education is critical in maintaining the language among the Armenian community in Egypt. In Addition, Armenian is the only language that Armenians use within their families and communities.

The Future of Armenians in Egypt

Most current Armenian Egyptians who are permanent residents of Egypt were born in Egypt. Armenia to them are folkloric stories and cultural practices that every generation hands them to the successor generation. Armenian Egyptians are full Egyptians with an additional cultural layer. Egyptians are Pharaohs, Copts, Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Africans, and Middle Easterns. Armenian Egyptians are all of this plus Armenians.

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Ahmed Ibrahim

Full-fledged Content Creator & Tech Journalist. Worked previously with top publishers like AkhbarTech, Abda Adv, and RobbReportArabia.