Renovated cemetery shows Armenians' history in Cairo

CAIRO (Reuters) - Renovation work is nearly complete on an Armenian cemetery in Cairo whose graves reflect a 100 years of the community's history in the Egyptian capital. Workers have fixed and cleaned up tombstones, statues and busts that sit on top of graves.      The site dates back to 1924, when the Armenian community was granted a piece of land adjacent to an older one

Reuters September 18, 2018 00:08:01 IST
Renovated cemetery shows Armenians' history in Cairo

Renovated cemetery shows Armenians history in Cairo

CAIRO (Reuters) - Renovation work is nearly complete on an Armenian cemetery in Cairo whose graves reflect a 100 years of the community's history in the Egyptian capital.

Workers have fixed and cleaned up tombstones, statues and busts that sit on top of graves. 

    The site dates back to 1924, when the Armenian community was granted a piece of land adjacent to an older one. It fused Egyptian, Armenian and European architectural designs.

    "There was a period when this place was neglected, and the renovation project was a great initiative because the area was restored to what it once was," said Nairy Hampikian, an archaeologist and conservation specialist who has overseen the renovation project.

    "The first thing we did was remove the dust from all the pathways inside the cemetery. After that the signs that you see over there that were mostly scattered on the ground and covered in dust appeared when we cleaned up."

Armenians began settling in Egypt in the Fatimid era from the 10th to 12th Centuries and were given a piece of land by Mohamed Ali Pasha in 1844 in an area now known as old Islamic Cairo.

    The size of the Armenian community in Egypt would fluctuate, driven by the country's political and economic situation.

    But it was not until after the events of World War One - when Ottoman Muslims massacred 1.5 million Christian Armenians in 1915 - that a large number of Armenians fled to Egypt and other countries.

  Turkey says many Christian Armenians who lived under the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Turkish soldiers but it denies that a genocide took place.

    The Armenians in Egypt thrived in cosmopolitan cities such as Cairo and Alexandria, which were also home to Italian and Greek communities. 

    Today, the Armenian community in Egypt has shrunk to about 300,000 people, and according to the president of Goganian Armenian cultural club in Cairo, Kevork Erzingatzian.

But the burial ground serves as a reminder of the Armenians' cultural and religious heritage.

    "We found tombstones that date back to the 1830s, 40s, and 50s," Hampikian said.

    Restoration work began in 2014 and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2018. The Armenian Patriarchate of Cairo, with help from donations from the Armenian community, funded the project.

(Reporting by Mohamed Zaki, Writing by Seham Eloraby.)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Serbian leader fires back at Moscow after 'Basic Instinct' jibe
World

Serbian leader fires back at Moscow after 'Basic Instinct' jibe

MOSCOW/BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia's president accused Moscow on Sunday of stooping to "primitivism and vulgarity" in an attack on him, after Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman compared him to the actor Sharon Stone in an explicit film scene. Serbia is Moscow's closest ally in the Balkans, but President Aleksandar Vucic has long annoyed Russia by seeking better ties with the West

Turkey's Erdogan, EU's Michel discuss East Med - CNN Turk
World

Turkey's Erdogan, EU's Michel discuss East Med - CNN Turk

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and European Council President Charles Michel discussed developments in the Eastern Mediterranean on Sunday, CNN Turk reported. NATO allies Turkey and Greece have been locked in a row over hydrocarbon exploration in the sea's disputed waters and the extent of their continental shelves. There was no official confirmation of the talks.

Jump in COVID-19 cases in Britain is 'concerning' - Hancock
World

Jump in COVID-19 cases in Britain is 'concerning' - Hancock

LONDON (Reuters) - The sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Britain of 2,988 recorded on Sunday, the highest jump since May, was "concerning", Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, although he added that the majority were younger people. "The rise in the number of cases that we've seen today is concerning," he said. "The cases are predominately among younger people, but we've seen in other countries across the world and in Europe this sort of rise in the cases amongst younger people leading to a rise across the population as a whole." He said everybody had to follow social distancing rules to prevent the spread of infections.