Islam it's Also Our History!

Europe and its Muslim legacies
Bosniak Institute Sarajevo

An exhibition of civilization

The exhibition is structured around a main message: the Muslim presence in Europe is as old as Islam itself. While recalling that the European and Muslim civilizations have come from a common spiritual and intellectual trunk (the Abrahamic strain), the exhibition shows that their relations, however conflicting they may have been, have allowed cross-influences. It is a shared history, mixing in each epoch a luminous slope (encounter, artistic creation, reciprocal influences) and a dark side (conflicts, frontiers, difficult integration).

The journey is articulated in four stages, the visible traces that this meeting has produced today: the Arab heritage, bequeathed by medieval Europe; The Ottoman heritage; The colonial heritage, and finally Europe and the Muslims today. Resolutely current and all public, the scenography invites to a complete intellectual and emotional experience combining objects of museum and the daily life, works of art, multimedia, music and scenographic installations.

It is difficult to imagine a more appropriate location than Sarajevo for the first presentation of “Islam is also our History”! The only city founded by the Ottomans on European soil; a city in which, over the centuries, Muslims and Jews, Orthodox and Catholic Christians lived side by side; a city in which the cohabitation of religions and cultures can still be seen in the architecture of places of worship; and lastly, a martyred city, where the former coexistence was replaced with the greatest atrocities our era could conceive. For better or for worse, Sarajevo was and still is the city which symbolizes the encounter of civilizations and the ultimate manifestation of the title of our exhibition.

The exhibition is presented in a remarkable setting: an old, beautifully restored, Turkish hammam from the 16th century. It is one of the most outstanding examples of classical Ottoman architecture in the Balkans.