Middle East and Central Asia
Explore the library
- Middle East, Central Asia and Islamica subject guide
- Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica subject guide (for the ancient history of Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia etc., Ancient Egypt & the Byzantine Empire, and modern Israel / Palestine)
- All users on-campus; SOAS students and staff only off-campus
Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
MECAS is a bibliographic database, which provides access to a wide range of material relating to the study of countries and peoples of the Middle East and Central Asia.
On campus use / Off-campus use
An online community for architects, planners, urban designers, landscape architects, and scholars, with a special focus on the Islamic world (also provides a huge internet image source for Islamic architecture and other related publications).
Arabic and Middle Eastern Electronic Library (AMEEL)
AMEEL is a Web-based portal and a digital collection of information for the study of the Middle East hosted by Yale University Library. Users can search scholarly digital contents and digitised resources via the OACIS serials database. Currently, AMEEL holds approximately 250,000 pages of full text, indexed and searchable in the language of publication including Arabic and Western scripts.
ADIAS: Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey
The Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS) has carried out archaeological surveys and, excavates on the coast and islands of Abu Dhabi. The website includes photographs of many of sites and objects excavated by the project team as well as PDF documents of reports related to the project.
Based on Susan Meiselas’s 1997 book 'Kurdistan, in the Shadow of History'. Includes images of Kurdistan, with accompanying text, arranged along a timeline.
Archaeology in Jordan: including Petra and the Nabateans
Archaeological sites and monuments in Jordan with many photographs and images
Anthology of Iranian Masters of Calligraphy
This anthology invites audiences to interact with select works of Iranian masters of calligraphy from the tenth to the twentieth century. These works were carefully chosen to represent the artistic canon that has shaped the world of calligraphy in contemporary Iran. Their influence has in many cases exceeded the national boundaries of modern Iran, and the earlier works helped spread Persianate culture throughout West Asia in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern era.
MWNF (Museum With No Frontiers)
Is an independent organisation which aims to increase awareness about the artistic legacy of Islam. Their portal homepage www.museumwnf.org provides direct access to MWNF Galleries, Virtual Museums, virtual exhibitions and useful databases on Islamic Art, Baroque Art and Carpet Art.
Discover Islamic Art
is one of main projects by MWNF (Museum With No Frontiers).
This site provides information about 1825 Artefacts from 23 Countries. Also the site provides 18 virtual exhibitions by periods (The Umayyads, The Fatimids, The Mamluks, the Ottomans etc) and themes (Woman, water, Pilgrimage, Calligraphy etc).
Interesting website created to showcase examples of orientalist photography over 300 late 19th century Images of the Middle East Ottoman empire taken by colonial photographers. Browse the gallery. This includes a harem section of stereotypical exotic images of young Middle East and Arab girls designed for a western audience. Check copyright with the site before use.
The Getty Research Institute has also been conducting research on this topic. See over 2,400 images from their collections plus some background details on the genre; searchable on the online catalogue of their digitized collections
Reinventing the veil from UNC-Chapel Hill also has some background articles.
Persepolis and Ancient Iran
A collection of 999 photographs of various archaeological sites, taken from the 1979 publication Persepolis and Ancient Iran from the Oriental Institute Photographic Archives, University of Chicago.
Williams Afghan Media Project
This site brings together several collections of photographic images of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: Images Harrison Forman Collection
This photographic collection documents the life and culture of Afghanistan in the 1950s and 1960s. The online collection consists of 174 images selected from a set of 733 slides of Afghanistan in the Harrison Forman Photographic Collection housed at the American Geographical Society Collection and document historic sites, including the great Buddhas of Bamiyan destroyed by the Taliban in 2001
Art in Iraq Today
Curated by Dia Al-Azzawi and Charles Pocock, this is the series of exhibitions of contemporary Iraqi artists.
Ernst Cohn-Wiener Collection from the British Library
A historically important collection of images of Central Asian monuments taken between 1924-1925.
Wada Survey Collection
The digitised photographic collection offered by National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (東洋文化財研究所). These pictures were taken between 1929-1930 when Wada (the earlier member of the Institute) was sent the Middle East for West Asia research trip. About 1,500 photos on Iran, Iraq, Egypt and other countries are available.
Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran
The comprehensive database supervised by Dr. Afsaneh Najmabadi and hosted by Harvard Library. The sites features not just photographs, but artefacts and objects used by women in the Qajar era in their daily lives.
Islamic and Arabic Arts and Architecture
Explains the historical and cultural significance of Islamic and Arabic artefacts. Covers architecture, calligraphy, oriental rugs, and coins. Includes FAQs, a bibliography, radio reviews, and links to academic schools and museums.
Iran Heritage Foundation
Founded in 1995, the foundation promote Iran’s cultural heritage. The site offers useful information on new books, lectures, digitised projects and exhibitions about Iran’s cultural Heritage.
Topkapi Palace Museum
An illustrated guide of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, which was home to all the Ottoman sultans, by the Bilkent University , Department of History.
The David Collection
Founded by the C. L. David, this Danish museum has large collection of Islamic Art.
The website offers a comprehensive introduction to the period according to different Islamic dynasties and different geographic regions with matching artefact pictures.
Rijkusmuseum in Amsterdam
Offers many interesting electronic research publication based on their collection. Good art & costume resources for Middle East and other regions