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Welcome to the image archive DAS BiILD DES ORIENTS (The Image of the Orient)

Are you looking for pictures of the Islamic World to illustrate a documentation, a scholarly work or a press article?



The image archive “Das Bild des Orients" contains more than 25.000 slides, black & white prints and negatives, which is in the process of being digitized and transferred into the online database step by step. At the same time the digital (CANON EOS 20D) and analogue photographic material is continuously being enlarged.

Strong fields are the architecture of Turkey and the Middle East as well as the now independent countries in Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) from the beginning of the Islamic period (7th century) until today.

The archive also contains images from Xinjiang (East Turkestan, today Westchina) documenting urban landscape, e.g. the office block of Rabiya Kadeer in Ürümqi as well as historical buildungs.

Another main area is the Gulf region (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain Qatar, UAE, and Oman), a region under extreme development in the last years. See e.g. the rising skyline of Doha, Qatar.


An alphabetical list of the countries (about 40) can be found under "region" in "advanced search".

Photographs on Islamic applied arts, Ethnographic motives, views on landscape and people are also available.

Strengthen the section on "Historical Photographs"

In addition to current graphical material historical images are offered. They were taken by Katharina Otto-Dorn (1908 - 1999) in Syria (Resafa) and Turkey (esp. Kubadabad) and by Erich Holm von Prosch (1909 - 1994) who worked as oil researcher in Yemen in the 1950s.

Another Yemen pioneer is Dr. Eva Hoeck (1917-1995) who worked as s doctor in Taizz (North Yemen) and in the Hadramaut (South Yemen) in the 1940s and 1950s. In Shibam she was able to build up the first hospital. About this time she published „Doctor amongst the Bedouins“ (London 1962). Eva Hoeck took many photographs during her stay (1948-1958), more than 200 6 x 6 slides, in black & white as well as in colour survived, which document both Yemen before the modern period started. The material has been given to "Das Bild des Orients" in 2011 and is currently digitized to be presented online.


The image archive makes also available more than 100 historical photographs of the estate of Johann Gottfried Wetzstein (1815 - 1905) kept in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

Advanced Search

The database provides the possibility to search according to four main categories, and also to region, time (period or dynasty) and specific topics, which can also be combined.
E.g. searching for an architectural detail of a madrasa in Turkey during the Rum-Seljuq period (12th to 13th century).


Ordering & Prices

Ordering of material is done by email, material will be sent as high quality tif- or jpg-files. In special cases (and if available) analogue material can also be provided (special fee).

Prices on request depending on use (type of publication, number of prints etc.), seize, quality or rareness respectively.

The layout of the web pages (www.das-bild-des-orients.de), all contents, graphics and images as well as all texts are under copyright.