CONNECTION THROUGH DIPLOMACY, CULTURE AND TOURISM
REPUBLIC OF SERBIA AND THE ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT
Relations between Serbia and Egypt have been a true example of friendly cooperation for more than two centuries. The connection through diplomacy, culture and tourism is part of the past, present and future of our two countries.
Diplomatic relations between Serbia and Egypt date back to the beginning of the 20th century. On February 1, 1908, the Kingdom of Serbia opened the Diplomatic Agency in Cairo, which was soon raised to the level of the Consulate General. After the declaration of independence of this country on February 28, 1922, the first embassy of Serbia was opened in Cairo, whose charge d’affaires was Jovan Dučić.
(Source: Obradovic Goran at English Wikipedia., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
In order to establish better economic connections, in 1925, the Trade Agency of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was opened in Alexandria. In 1936, the Yugoslav Home was founded in this city, as an association that gathered members of the Yugoslav community in Egypt, for the purpose of their networking and mutual assistance.
Egypt became extremely important for the Yugoslav government after the capitulation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on April 17, 1941, since King Peter II Karadjordjević and the government first moved to Cairo via Athens, and then to London.
The connection between Yugoslavia and Egypt reached its peak when Presidents Tito, Nasser and Nehru founded the Non-Aligned Movement, which appeared on the global political scene in the early 1960s as an alternative to the block division of the world. Symbolically, they also represented three continents – Europe, Africa and Asia.
Meeting of Tito and Naser on the ship Galeb
(Source: Zdravko Pečar, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)
Tito and Nasser first met in Suez, aboard Galeb, on Tito’s return from India in February 1955. In December of the same year, Tito arrived to his first official visit to Egypt. Upon this occasion he toured the country from Aswan to Alexandria, and spent New Year holidays in Luxor. Nasser was interested in the Yugoslav economic model and Arab socialism was partly inspired by the Yugoslav example. The President of Egypt returned visit to Yugoslavia in July 1956, when he became an honorary citizen of Belgrade.
Today, Serbia greatly appreciates Egypt’s support at the international level, and the two countries share similar responsibility for preserving the stability of their regions.
Egyptian civilization is one of the oldest in history, which left a significant impact on the development of ancient Greece, the Roman Empire and Western civilization in general, and with which no one could compete at the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. Great interest in getting to know this part of the world did not leave the Serbs indifferent either.
Thus, even before the establishment of diplomatic ties, in August 1888, the citizens of Serbia had the opportunity to see an Egyptian mummy exhibited in the National Museum in Belgrade. It was bought by the philanthropist and patron Hadži Pavle Riđički during his trip to Egypt, in Luxor, on the street market, “out of patriotic intention” and “not for himself, but for the Serbian people”. The mummified human remains, which belong to Nesmin, a priest from Ahmim, have recently been re-exhibited in the National Museum and represent the only artefact of this kind in Serbia.
Belgrade mummy in the National Museum in Belgrade
Beogradska mumija u Narodnom muzeju u Beogradu (The coffin and mummy of Nesmin, about 300 BC)
(Source: National Museum)
The first contact between Serbian cinematography and Egypt was established very early, when a Serb, known as Mr. Lakić, made a film recording in Egypt in the summer of 1918 called “Mrs. Loreta”.
In the first half of the 20th century, Egypt was brought closer to the Serbian audience by Jelena J. Dimitrijević, a Serbian poet, author of novels, short stories and a fighter for women’s rights. In her travelogue “Seven Seas and Three Oceans”, she describes her journey to this exotic country, which begins in Alexandria and continues through Cairo, Memphis, Luxor, Karnak and the Valley of the Kings.
Jelena J. Dimitrijević
Today, the Museum of African Art in Belgrade keeps numerous artefacts originating from Egypt, the most valuable of which are ancient Egyptian “faces”, i.e. “masks” from the coffin.
Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada – favourite travel destinations
The Egyptian sea and its intriguing culture have made this country the third most important destination for tourists from Serbia. More than 56,000 travellers from Serbia visited Egypt in 2019, which is partly a reflection of the partnership between the two countries and indicates the importance of this type of interaction for its strengthening at all levels.
Known for its impressive ancient civilizations and amazing buildings, the offer of cultural tourism of this country is unique indeed. An additional motif for tourists will soon be the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), the largest museum in the world dedicated to one civilization – ancient Egypt, whose construction is in the final stages.
Grand Egyptian Museum
(Source: By Djehouty – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85471240)
Cooperation between the Embassy of Egypt in Belgrade and Dipos
In Serbia, the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt today uses some of the most beautiful buildings from our portfolio in Belgrade. Decades of cooperation between this institution and Dipos are in line with the broader framework of bilateral relations between Serbia and Egypt.
During the visit to our Company, the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the Republic of Serbia, His Excellency, Mr. Amr Fathi Mohamed Aljowaily, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the Republic of Serbia, expressed exceptional satisfaction with the services provided and stressed the importance of our partnership.