The History and Structure of the Greek Community in Armenia
The cultural and economic ties between Greek and Armenian peoples have occurred from time immemorial. The Greek have penetrated into the territory of Historical Armenia back in old centuries. In the 1st century BC during Tigran The Great’s reign the Greeks of Kilikia have been granted the opportunity to immigrate to Tigranakert, Artashat, Nakhijevan and other cities where their number reached up to a hundred thousand. Greeko-Armenian relations become closer in the second half of the 18th century when Greek miners have been invited from Pontus (Black Sea area) to work in copper mines and factories of Alaverdi and Akhtala (from here derives the name Pontic given to all Greeks living outside Greece). Soon Lalvar copper smelting factory opens.
At the beginning of the 19th century a range of Greek villages are established: Koghos, Jaghdan, Akhchan, and in 1865 – Miskhana (today’s Hankavan). The new flow of immigration occurs in 1914-1915 when together with western Armenians lots of persecuted Greeks settle in Armenia, particularly in Gyumri, Karabakh and else.
According to the Armenian sources in the 1980’s there lived 10-12 thousands Greeks in Armenia. Soviet Union years have been somewhat favorable and secure. However, there lacked the stimuli for the development of the national culture, language and traditions.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union CIS peoples have chosen their own way of development. Those were difficult years. Many people emigrated from Armenia. The Greeks were no exception. They left for Russia, Ukraine, and most of them returned to their homeland – Greece. Currently many Greek residences have emptied, in their range also Madan. Unfortunately, the latter place that used to be full of Greek residents is now inhabited with few Armenian families.
Nevertheless, many remained in Armenia, the country that has become their second homeland. Some 5000 Greeks, who remained, reunited, formed communities and national self-consciousness awakened. The very process has started in 1990’s. The Greek Federation has started to operate actively. It included numerous communities from Alaverdi, Yerevan, Stepanavan, Gyumri, Hrazdan, Noyemberyan and other places.
Head of “Ilios” Greek Community
It is one of our organization’s to promote the promotion of the European values which also embrace the idea of everyone’s equal involvement and participation in all spheres of life in a given state. The issue of raising awareness within our society on the national minorities in Armenia, their problems, the organization representing their interests is rather important. On the other hand, we also aim at promoting the efficiency of the organizations which represent the interests of the national minorities in Armenia as well as support its European integration path through active cooperation with them. Therefore, we consider it our duty to utmostly reach the very objectives through our resources available. Read more…