Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias participated at the opening of the Second International Congress on Cultural Heritage on Tuesday.
The Congress was organized by the Institute of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the National University of Athens.
The docuss of the Congress was “Hellenism and Islamic Civilization: The positive aspects of the interaction and its prospects.”
In his address to the conference, which is being held online, the Minister pointed out the historical and cultural ties that developed between Greek and Islamic culture through timeless contacts and interactions.
Dendias noted that the richness of these historical and cultural experiences and religious traditions are the inspiration for a creative and peaceful coexistence, beneficial to all the peoples of the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Decisions such as the conversion of the Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora into mosques, two timeless symbols of the coexistence of peoples, cultures and religions, which have been designated World Heritage Sites, do not contribute to this effort.
Dendias explained that the Middle East and North Africa are associated with millennia of common history with Greece and that the cultures and religious dogmas that were born and flourished in this area interacted with each other.
The Foreign Minister also explained that in the first steps of Islamic civilization, “most of the literary achievements of the Hellenistic world are translated into Arabic,” adding that “in this way, the vocabulary and idioms of Arabic were expanded.”
“In this meeting and the assimilation of the achievements of Greek culture, the spiritual curiosity and enthusiasm of the intellectuals of Islam develops” and “gives new impetus to fields such as medicine, mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, architecture and alchemy.”
“In many ways, then, Islam can be considered an interlocutor of Greek antiquity and Byzantium,” Dendias said.