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Library Am Guisanplatz exhibition "Occident meets Orient. Encounters with Afghanistan"

Since Alexander the Great, several superpowers have tried to conquer Afghanistan and exercise political influence over the country, whose rich culture and fascinating landscapes have always attracted scholars, traders, adventurers and explorers from all over the world. This has led to encounters that are illustrated by the items selected for display at the exhibition.

Afghan men outside a mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif
Afghan men outside a mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif © SLA, AS-20-123

From Tuesday, 02 May 2017, 8:30am
To Wednesday, 28 February 2018, 6:00pm

Papiermühlestrasse 21a 3014 Bern
Fair, exhibition

Three reports from three centuries

Europeans have travelled to the land of the Hindu Kush for centuries. What picture of Afghanistan have they conveyed? The aim is to answer this question with three examples from the past three centuries:


Florentia Sale (1790 - 1853)

Lady Florentia Sale, wife of a British army officer, experienced the first Anglo-Afghan War of 1839-1842 first hand. She kept a diary and wrote letters about her experiences, accounts that we will present at our exhibitions.


Annemarie Schwarzenbach (1908 –1942)

The committed Swiss travel writer and social critic found in Afghanistan not only exotic landscapes and people but also a piece of home.


Johanna Häfliger (* 1945)

Afghanistan as Johanna Häfliger has experienced it has been marked by four decades of war, destruction and religious fanaticism. But she also encountered generous selfless hospitality and willingness to help.


The Afghanistan Institute

The Swiss Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf (BL) provides a safe home to one of the most important collections of artefacts from Afghanistan in Europe. In its guest exhibition, the Afghanistan Institute showcases its commitment to protecting cultural artefacts from Afghanistan and displays panels on “Germany – Afghanistan, 100 years of friendship and cooperation” commissioned by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

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Library Am Guisanplatz Research Service, Special Collections
Papiermühlestrasse 21a
CH-3003 Bern
+41 58 464 50 95