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Wonderful Images of the Middle East During the 18th Century

Digitization, Rare Books

One of our most visually interesting collections in the UH Digital Library is Scenes from the Middle East. This collection of 114 images from three books provides a view of life in the Middle East during the 19th century through beautiful colored and tinted sketches of the people and places of Afghanistan, Constantinople, and Jerusalem.

During this time period, Afghanistan found itself in the middle of the British-Russian conflict known as the “Great Game,” and Constantinople and Jerusalem were part of the declining Ottoman Empire. The works offer a glimpse into the everyday lives of residents, as well as the regions’ natural beauty, ancient ruins, mosques, and other buildings.

The three books that are the base of the collection are Sketches in Afghaunistan (1842), by James Atkinson; Lewis’s Illustrations of Constantinople (circa 1837), by John Frederick Lewis; and Sinai and Jerusalem; or, Scenes from Bible Lands (1870), by F.W. Holland. The digital collection also includes the text from Sinai and Jerusalem.

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