The many interconnections between the Arab and Ottoman world and Europe have increased over the course of history. As political and economic ties between the two regions intensified, so too did the motivations for travel and the extent of the journeys undertaken. With the help of modern transportation and communications, diplomatic delegations and royal visits now became more frequent, often underlined by the exchange of symbolic luxury gifts. The number of religious travellers within regions, to the Holy Land and across the Islamic world increased, with a number of tour operators beginning to offer tailor-made itineraries. By the second half of the 19th century, the first manifestations of organised mass tourism, aimed at a middle-class clientele, led to the emergence of related service industries, ranging from translation services to Western-style transport, cuisine, accommodation, bespoke travel gear and souvenir production. Meanwhile, scientific exploration and research, particularly in the field of archaeology, also gathered pace. As a result of the intensified encounter between Europe and the Arab and Ottoman world since the 18th century, Europe’s romantic fascination with the “Orient” also expressed itself in architectural and artistic evocations back home – each physical or literary artwork a mirage of things seen or imagined while travelling.

Painting, Royal Reception

4 December 1864 at 10 a.m.

Royal archives, Rabat, Morocco

Félix Augustin Milius

Oil on canvas

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In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
Royal and diplomatic visits
Religious tourism and pilgrimage
Exploration and research
Visiting and “revisiting” the Orient