Nostalgic Glimpses from Cosmopolitan Alexandria





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Published on Nov 27, 2010

Cosmopolitan Alexandria is a term that is usually applied for a period in the history of the Egyptian city of alexandria lasting from [1860 -1961]. Large numbers of Greeks, Italians, French, English,Maltese, Armenians, Lebanese, Syrians,Turks,Bulgarians,Jews ,etc,lived in harmony within each other and with the local people . Sadly enough,the cosmopolitan nature of the city was abruptly put to an end when the Egyptian presedent Nasser issued the socialist laws of 1961,followed by the planned Arabinization of the names of streets and districts of the city.Most European communities left Alexandria except for a still existing very small Greek community and a slightly larger Armenian community

The decline in the cosmopolitan nature of Alexandria,although more profound in the year 1961 which witnessed the mass exodus of most non Hellenic communities,the Hellenic [Greek ] presence in Alexandria was still prominent and visible till at least the year 1975.

European influence on the city can be still seen in Alexandria after 50 years from the end of the cosmopolitan era of the city.In the following,I will try to show some landmarks of this era of the history of Alexandria.I am a still living witness to this era and hope that I can do something to preserve these memories for history and newer generations .The sequence of the presented photos are as follows:
1. An old building with a carved writing [Banque Emperiale Ottomane].
2.Italian geriatric house at Chatby [3 photos]
3. House of the famous Alexandrian Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis (1863-1933) known as CONSTANTINE CAVAFY- three photos
4.Tomb of Constantine Cavafy at the Greek Cemetery [Chatby] --two photos
5.Greek Nautinal Club near Qayet Bay Castle at Faros [two photos]
6. Evangelsmos Greek church In the heart of Alexandria, at Mansheia near Saint Catherine Square .This is the main church of the Greek Orthodhox Patriarchate. The street itself is called Greek Church Street "Share' Al-Kaneesa Al-Younaneah". It is one of the landmarks of Alexandria not only religiously but also architecturally and culturally.- [three photos]
7. Ecole Saint Mark at Chatby --two photos,Greco Roman Museum -downtown-two photos
8.Greek church of Saint Saba,the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria. [three photos]
9. Old building at downtown showing a Gothic style architecture
10. Old building at downtown showing a Florentine style architecture
11.Cemetery of the Hellenic community of Alexandria at Chatby
12.Beautiful statues constructed by former wealthy Greek families at the Greek Orthodox cemeteries at Chatby [six photos].Courtesy of Eleni Boulasiki
and [The Cemeteries of Alexandria ]
Bibliotheca Alexandrina
13.Label of Maria Ausiliatrice school
14.Pleuzaus Heim building
15.Sao Pedro Catholic church [three photos]
16.Beautiful statues at Antoniades Garden at Semouha [four photos]
17.Latin Catholic cemeteries at Chatby [three photos]
18.Eliyahu Hanavi Jewish synagogue at Rue Nabi Daniel --downtown [five photos]
19.Menasce synagogue at Mensheya [now closed ]
20.Athineos restaurant-downtown [five photos]
21.Baudrot restaurant-downtown [three photos]
22.CAP D'OR restaurant-downtown [three photos]
23. Sophianopolou coffee shop --downtown
24.Spit Fire bar downtown
25.Another old restaurant of foreign origins- downtown
26.Elite Greek restaurant - downtown [closed a year ago for renovations] after its Greek owner died
27.Greek style building of [al ghorfa al togareya] downtown
28.Pelgrini and Naoum stores at Mansheya.This store was a magnificent one till the early 60s.Originally owned by two Alexandrians of a Levantine origin [Shawam].The store was nationalized by Nasser in 1961,afterwards,it suffered from a rapid decline as seen from the presented photo.
29.Club of the Hellenic community of Alexandria [two photos]
30.Some still surviving Greek and Armenian owned shops [two photos]
31.The cover of the famous book featuring some aspects of Cosmopolitan Alexandria.[The Alexandria Quartet] by Lawrence Durrel.
Many of the photos were adopted from the following websites

Buildings in downtown Alexandria

Jewish North Africa Index

Historical Society of Jews from Egypt

The Hellenic Community of Alexandria [EKA]

AAHA = Amicale Alexandrie Hier et Aujourd'hui : www.aaha.ch
.The accompanying music is that of two old Greek tunes from Asia Minor [in what is now Turkey] dating from the 1920s.Their composer is totally unknown till our present day

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