Exploration in search of long-lost relatives

Historical researcher and film director Dimitris Manolesakis, from Iraklion, Crete, could be called a «detective» of Greek culture around the world. Over the past 30 years he has been discovering forgotten descendants of Greeks around the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and in Asia. In 1983, he found the Grecophone village of Hamidie in Syria, which until then was unknown in Greece. He made two beautiful films about it («Hamidie, the Cretan Village of Syria,» and «The Grecophones of Syria»). Over the next few years he found two more unknown villages where the residents speak Greek and retain Greek customs, El Mina in Lebanon and Marsa Susa in Libya. In 1986, he found a minority group on the Alicante coast of Spain, in the town of Elce (thought to be the ancient Greek colony of Eliki), who believe they are descendants of ancient Greeks and who observe Greek customs and traditions on the Feast of the Virgin. His film on these people, «The Roads of History, Greece-Spain» appeared on Greek television in 1988. Other films he has made for ERT1 and the Education Ministry include «The Grecophones of Corsica,» «France’s Greece,» «Byzantine Syria,» «Syria’s Greece,» «Kafir-Kalash,» «Seeking Greece in Pakistan,» «Magna Grecia in Italy,» «Asia Minor Greece,» «Greek Towns of the Black Sea,» «Unknown Greece in Libya,» and «Greeks’ Great Journey.» At the moment he is completing «The Cretans of Lebanon,» «Hadendua: Descendants of the Ancient Greeks in the Sudan» and «Unknown Descendants of Alexander’s Greeks in the Pamir,» on the five villages he found there last September and October.

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