Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg


The Heidelberg Oriental collection comprises 526 objects, including manuscripts in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Hebrew, Samaritan, Syrian, Ethiopian, Coptic and other languages. Since the establishment of an in-house Digitisation centre in 2003, Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg is in the process of digitising parts of its valuable historical collection.

Collection history

The majority of the “Codices Heidelbergenses Orientales“ were added to the collection in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including the first 15 Oriental manuscripts (in 43 volumes) that came to Heidelberg with the acquisition of the Salem monastery library in 1826/1827. Other additions consisted of donations by scholars as well as purchases from their estates and from booksellers. In apparent pursuit of a more focused collection strategy, the library added more than 300 manuscripts to the holdings throughout the 1920s. However, systematic acquisition ceased at the beginning of the 1930s.


The manuscripts are catalogued in an alphabetical book catalogue, a shelf catalogue and a language index, which can be consulted in the Manuscript reading room (LSH). In addition, two print catalogues are available for searching partial collections: Josef Berenbach, Verzeichnis der neuerworbenen orientalischen Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg , Leipzig 1928 and the catalogue of Seifeddin Najmabadi, Die persischen Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg , Heidelberg 1990.