Gaza 1900_ a city of the eastern Mediterranean in transition

An exhibition of the ZMS, the RUB and the University of Haifa

Opening on 4 July, 3 pm.
with music, drinks and an exhibition tour

Location: House of Archaeologies, Am Bergbaumuseum 31, 44791 Bochum
Duration: 5 July - 31 October 2019, daily from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm

Exhibition's Hompepage: Gaza 1900_ a city of the eastern Mediterranean in transition

Today, the city of Gaza is primarily known as a center of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and as the scene of a humanitarian crisis. An exhibition of the Center for Mediterranean Studies of the Ruhr University Bochum in cooperation with the University of Haifa invites to get to know the city from a different perspective.

The exhibition takes visitors on a journey through time to Gaza before the First World War and the beginning of nationality conflicts in the Middle East. Based on historical photos, maps and texts, a different view of Gaza becomes possible: as a city in the eastern Mediterranean, which has benefited from its special location for millennia. The city's economic base has long been its position as a trading post on the caravan route between Syria and Egypt. At the same time Gaza was a regional market center on the border between a productive agricultural region and the steppes of the Negev and Sinai, and thus a meeting place of farmers, nomadic ranchers and traders. By 1900, Gaza was also a center of Islamic education. In turn, it benefited from the proximity to Egypt, where many young men from the city were trained to religious and legal scholars. In the late 19th century, the city and its region became the focus of world politics when Britain occupied Egypt and rivaled the Ottoman Empire for control of Sinai with the Suez Canal, so important to world trade. During the First World War, this rivalry developed into a military confrontation in which German and Austrian troops participated as allies of the Ottomans and in the course of which Gaza was largely destroyed.

Gaza around 1900 was a city that maintained millennia-old traditions and at the same time faced the onset of globalization and had to adapt to the resulting economic, political and social developments. The years around 1900 were at the same time a time of departure for many people in Gaza and the wider eastern Mediterranean. From 1880 to 1914 the eastern Mediterranean is said to have a special "Levantine moment" in which technological progress, education and freedom of movement have opened up unprecedented opportunities. For Gaza, new economic opportunities opened up as the city became the preferred grain supplier for British breweries.

Despite its regional and supraregional importance, Gaza has never received the same attention as the regional metropolises of Jerusalem or Damascus. Historical research has largely neglected the city. An international research project in which researchers from the Ruhr-Universität cooperated with members of the University of Haifa and partners in Gaza and Turkey has since 2016 been able to evaluate various sources on the history of the city of Gaza and its region. The resulting exhibition sheds light on topics as diverse as urban development, working life and local politics. At the same time she presents biographies of different people who helped to shape Gaza around 1900.

The Center for Mediterranean Studies presents this exhibition in collaboration with the Department of Oriental Studies and Islamic Studies of the Ruhr University Bochum and the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies of the University of Haifa.

The exhibition will be on display daily from 5 July to 31 October 2019 from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm in the foyer of the House of Archaeologies (Am Bergbaumuseum 31, 44791 Bochum).

For further information, please contact Dr. Sarah Büssow (Center for Mediterranean Studies): sarah.buessow@rub.de