Islam in Europe. 1000–1250

September 7, 2022 – February 12, 2023


The treasuries of European churches, including the Hildesheim Cathedral Treasury (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), preserve numerous artefacts from regions where the Islamic faith exercised a formative influence. Based on these objects, the grand special exhibition at the Hildesheim Cathedral Museum sheds light on shared achievements and cultural entanglements. With outstanding works on loan from international lenders, including pieces from Florence, London, Paris, and Vienna, it offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore a history that has direct bearing on contemporary concerns.

Córdoba, Palermo, Cairo, and Constantinople were gleaming metropolises where business and trade, the sciences and the arts flourished. Precious rock crystal vessels, silken fabrics, carved ivories, and translations of scientific literature reached Central Europe from areas where Islam was the dominant faith. This migration of objects and transmission of knowledge and technology resulted in an interweaving of cultures. It forged connections across boundaries of creed and language and vast geographical distances, from today’s Iraq and Iran through North Africa and Spain all the way to Central Europe. Preserved in church treasuries, the objects bear witness to how much these diverse cultures had in common in the era between 1000 and 1250.

Contemporary Laboratory

In light of this shared history, the ‘Contemporary Laboratory’ invites visitors to grapple with questions of today’s society and culture. Materials in a range of media, including literature, music, and films, provide in-depth information and encourage playful exploration and reflection. The laboratory also hosts presentations of school projects as well as workshops and special events.

Art education program

Guided tours of the exhibition are offered in Arabic, German, and Turkish. Special art education formats and workshops cater to children and teenagers. The diverse program of special events highlights selected thematic aspects.

Exhibition catalogue

A richly illustrated catalogue (in German) with contributions by renowned scholars written for a general readership will be released by Verlag Schnell & Steiner in conjunction with the exhibition.