Al-Hamidiyah

Al-Hamidiyah (Arabic: الحميدية, romanized: al-Hamidiyya, Greek: Χαμιδιέ) is a town on the Syrian coast, about 3 km from the Lebanese border. The town was founded in a very short time on the direct orders of the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Hamid II around 1897, to serve as a refuge for the Greek-speaking Muslim Cretan community, forced to leave Crete during the 1897-98 Greco-Turkish War and resettled by the Sultan in Hamidiyah and other coastal areas of the Levant and as far as Libya. The majority still speak Cretan Greek in their daily lives. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics, al-Hamidiyah had a population of 7,404 in the 2004 census.[1]

Al-Hamidiyah

الحميدية
Town
Al-Hamidiyah Souq, Damascus, Syria
Al-Hamidiyah
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 34°43′N 35°56′E
Country Syria
GovernorateTartus
DistrictTartus
SubdistrictAl-Hamidiyah
Population
 (2004)
  Total7,404
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST)+3

The town has remained under Syrian Government control during the Syrian Civil War.

Cretan community

Cretan Muslims constitute 60% of the population, numbering about 3,000. Records suggest that the community left Crete between 1866 and 1897, on the outbreak of the last Cretan uprising against the Ottoman Empire, which ended the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. Sultan Abdul Hamid II provided Cretan Muslim families who fled the island with refuge on the Levantine coast. The new settlement was named Hamidiye after the sultan. The community is very much concerned with maintaining its culture. The knowledge of the spoken Greek language is remarkably good and their contact with their historical homeland has been possible by means of satellite television and relatives.[2]

Today, the Grecophone residents identify themselves as Cretan Muslims, and not as Cretan Turks as is the case with some in Tripoli.[3]

References

  1. General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Tartus Governorate. (in Arabic)
  2. Greek-Speaking Enclaves of Lebanon and Syria by Roula Tsokalidou. Proceedings II Simposio Internacional Bilingüismo. Retrieved 4 December 2006
  3. The forgotten Turks: Turkmens of Lebanon Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (report). Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies. February 2010. Retrieved 8-5-2015. p. 14. "The locals of Hamidiye do not describe themselves as Cretan Turks, but as Cretan Muslims or Ottomans (Kiritlar = Cretans in turkish). Some locals in Tripoli define themselves as Cretan Turks."
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