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Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

Kieler Bilddatenbank Naher Osten

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About KiBiDaNO



KiBiDaNO is an image database for the Middle East (Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey - later also Egypt or Sinai) initiated by the Institute for Old Testament Science and Biblical Archeology at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel (Prof. emeritus Dr. Rüdiger Bartelmus), whose pictures in the published form can be used by anyone privately or in connection with courses free of charge. The primary target group derives from the latter remark: For teachers and learners who are involved in any form with the Middle East – be they interested in cultural studies, geography or economics – is provided a comprehensive set of images from this region, which can hardly be overestimated. Accordingly, the database often contains several similar images of one and the same object: The different versions created over a period of more than 100 years represent both different states of preservation of the objects and different perspectives of the respective photographers. Lectures, seminars, school hours or similar can be amended without much work with the help of KiBiDaNO, by a visual component: The data quality of the images generated with the color profile Adobe RGB (1998) is such that the selected and – in the enlarged form (see the magnifying glass under the images) – objects downloaded to your own computer can be easily demonstrated in good quality with a data projector, provided that the enlargement is not made over an area of more than approx. 1.5 x 2 m. Many pictures can also be printed in commercially available publications without watermarking in better quality [jpg or tif format, possibly converted into the working color space CMYK (Euroscale Coated v2) and – in the case of slides that have been digitized – with a resolution of up to 4000 pixels per inch] can be ordered for a moderate fee (inquiries to: or Income generated in doing so will be used procuring new materials or an improved one presentation: KiBiDaNO is a non-profit project that was launched by the CAU Kiel at the beginning of this millennium with considerable financial effort, but which must now be self-sufficient. Since the retirement of the main responsible, there is not even a student assistant available as an employee – work contracts with potential employees can only be concluded if there is sufficient income in the form of donations. Donations with the note "Kibidano" are gratefully accepted by the Friends of the Faculty of Theology (S.T.O.A.): The Bank code of the S.T.O.A. account is: Evangelische Bank Kassel, BIC: GENODEF1EK1; IBAN: DE23 5206 0410 0006 4252 59.

Images and staff

The oldest pictures published in KiBiDaNO are scans or reproductions of photographs from the beginning of the 20th century, others date from the 1950s, many from the 1960s and 1970s, so that KiBiDaNO not only provides in some degree up-to-date picture material, but also historical images of objects that no longer exist due to natural disasters (earthquakes, floods), warlike events, attacks by an occupying power or other human intervention, or which have been changed significantly. By the state of July 2020, KiBiDaNO is presenting pictures by the following photographers: Christine Abart, Hartmut Assmann, Afshin Bakhtiar, Alexa Bartelmus, Corinna Bartelmus, Heide Bartelmus, Rüdiger Bartelmus, Bernd Bäss (♰), Birgit Brinkhaus, Anna Düring, Nils Feindt-Riggers, Emil Traugott Fischli (♰); Barbara Hertenberger, Ulrich Hübner, Ernst Jenni, Jens Kamlah, Christiane Krolovitsch (Böhm), Hans Klusch, Dr. Lambrinous (♰), Jascha Lemburg, Claas Oberbeck, Mitra Omidvar, Ulrich Orth, Taghi Rahnemai, Werner Riedel, Christian Rose, Günter Schiemenz, Hans-Joachim Stoebe (♰), Moya Tönnies, Angelika Vogel (Bartelmus), Ina Willi-Plein – other contributors are always welcome. The following were involved in the technical and scientific processing of the images: Carsten Binder, Christian Demandt, Nils Feindt-Riggers, Corinna Felsch, Hesam Ejtehadi, Tom Fleischer, Dr. Eva Marie Gnutzmann, Sybille Kambeck, Christiane Krolovitsch (now: Böhm), Mareike Meier (now: Lesemann), Dr. Jan Marr, Tilman Neuschild, Tordis Pohlmann, Dr. Christian Rose, Sven Lesemann, Moya Tönnies. Scientific advisory work (in addition to the scientists among the photographers): Prof. Dr. Silke Göttsch-Elten (folklore), Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hübner (OT; Biblical Archeology), Prof. Dr. Anja Pistor-Hatam and Prof. Dr. Lutz Berger (Islamic Studies), Prof. Dr. Horst Sterr (Geography), Prof. Dr. Josef Wiesehöfer (Ancient History). The technical support for the project is provided by Dirk Krämer from the CAU data center.

Mode of publication

The approximately 18,000 images currently available are published successively. Around 16,000 of the images in the archive are already available in electronic form, around 9,600 of them have been published. References are only included if the commentator has been based on important specialist literature. Otherwise, the comments on the images are based on personal experience or on the information in generally accessible travel guides and lexica. In most cases, the starting point is the information in the guides in the Les Guides Bleus series (Hachette, Paris), written by R. Boulanger, in their German version (Die blauen Führer), which accompanied the initiator of the project on all of his travels. In addition, information is resumed from the "classic" Historical Guide "Monuments of Syria" by R. Burns (IB Tauris 1999), the current travel guides of the publishing houses Baedeker (Ostfildern), DuMont (Cologne) and - if available - from the series Edition Erde (Temmen, Bremen), occasionally in the form of a critical comment. Since errors or inaccuracies cannot be avoided in such a large-scale project, all users are urged to use the field: "Comments, corrections to this entry?" at the end of each image description for their suggestions for improvement. This applies particularly to Dr. Lambrinous’ pictures of Iraq, the pictures by Emil Traugott Fischli and many pictures by Ernst Jenni: The person working with them often had to base their descriptions on assumptions regarding the objects depicted or the location of the photographer, since the pictures left to him for processing were only labeled in a very fragmentary manner. Particulary the many of the corroded slides by Ernst Jenni could often be used only in highly arranged form. Without prejudice to some technical defects, the photographs by Ernst Jenni, taken between 1957 and 1966, are an ideal addition to the newer images, since in the case of Palestine they offer insights into the period before 1967, which - if you compare them with newer images of the same objects - reveal the massive interventions in the Palestinian acquired rights in the West Bank and Jerusalem under Israel as an occupying power.

Special features and technical information

A special feature of KiBiDaNO is the attempt to list to each object in addition to the usual German name, also the name in the national language, and, if possible, to collect all forms of names used in encyclopedias, scientific publications, travel guides, etc. (including those that by the current state of scientific knowledge must clearly be considered as false, but appear in older publications): The characters used are Unicode characters, the representability of which depends on the quality of the browser used or the fonts installed on the computer. (The browser should be set to Western ISO-8859-1 or Unicode UTF-8 for character encoding). The relevant lists can be found for all images immediately after the Picture information under the title Synonyms. The use of these synonym lists (which are taken into account in the search function) becomes apparent to every user very quickly - after all, there are no universally applicable conventions according to which Arabic or Persian names are given in Latin script, and everyone knows that the different locations in the course of history have changed their names over and over again. When searching, you are not dependent on entering a certain "correct" name form in the search field: You are automatically directed to all pictures that are available for a location and can use the synonym lists to find out which other names or spellings (also objectively incorrect!) still occur in the literature. As a kind of side effect, KiBiDaNO hence offers the possibility, if necessary, of continuing scientific research in dictionaries or other publications using a different term (which the searcher may not have been familiar with at the time).

(State of editing: July 2020)